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The books dealing with missionary work outside the 
continent of Europe that have been pubhshed during 
the present generation are sufficient in number to 
fill a large library ; but during this period not a 
single volume has appeared in England, America or 
Germany, which gives a detailed account of the work 
done by the missionaries who first preached the 
Christian faith in the various countries of Europe. 
In view of this fact, no apology is needed for the pub- 
hcation of a book which attempts to cover this long- 
neglected ground. In collecting materials for the 
present volume I have tried to go back in every case 
to the earliest existing authorities, and in the foot- 
notes and the bibliography provided I have indicated 
whence the information given in the text has been 

I have not found it possible to arrange the chapters 
in a completely satisfactory chronological order. The 
missionary work in Europe began in the Balkan Penin- 
sula and in Italy ; but, as the whole of these countries 
did not become nominally Christian until Ireland and 
a large part of Great Britain had been evangeKzed, 
it seemed best to place the countries in the order in 
which Christianity became generally established as the 
religion of its peoples. 

For the opportunity of consulting some of the books 
to which reference is made, and of which few copies 


exist, I have been indebted to the collection of 
books in various continental languages bequeathed 
by the late Lord Acton to the Cambridge University 

I desire to express my gratitude to the Rev. Dr. 
Lawlor, Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the 
University of Dublin, and to the Rev. C. T. Wood, 
Fellow and Dean of Queen's College, Cambridge, for 
their kindness in reading the proofs of this book 
and for many helpful suggestions. The substance of 
several of the chapters has appeared in the pages of 
The East and The West, quarterly review. 

C. H. R. 







List of Maps 
















Balkan Peninsula 




Austria Yy^c^^^*^ , VJ>^^ 


^■Vvuv <j«/VV^ 












Denmark and Iceland 

. 437 


Norway .... 

Sweden .... 

Russia ^^^o< ^ ? s f»^A c\^ U^'Tku o^awV ^'\i>St^\il^ 

Mediterranean Islands 

The Jews .... 

Conclusion .... 


Index .... 






Missions in early times : their modem results, 1. Light thrown upon present- 
day problems, 2. Paucity of historical materials, 3. Arian Missions. 
Missionary biographies, 4. The title " Christian Missionary," 5. Mission- 
ary saints : their witness to the world, 6. Early references to Christian 
missionaries : Statement by Eusebius, 7. The Didache : the title Apostle : 
Statement by Origen, 8. Missionary monks : Origin of monasticism : 
Spiritual dechne of the monasteries in fifth century, 9. A monastic 
revival, 10. Development of monastic ideals : No other agency avail- 
able, 11. Limitations of their outlook: Their methods of work, 12. The 
material support of missionaries, 13. The example of St. Paul, and of 
later missionaries, 14. Self-supporting monasteries. The payment of 
tithes, 15. The support of clergy in Norway. Nuns as missionaries, 16. 
St. Hilda. Missionary catechisms. Reverence for the Holy Scriptures, 17. 
Lack of vernacular Christian literature, 18. Vernacular translations 
of the Bible : Translations in the East and in the West, 19. The ex- 
clusive use of the Latin language. Early English translations, 20. The 
"Heliand " in Saxony. Other religious poems. JPVench translations, 21. 
ReUgious plays. Probation of candidates for baptism, 22. The use of 
force as a missionary agency, 23. Authority of Augustine, Chrysostom, 24. 
Gregory. Protests by Hilary. Martin of Tours. Raymond Lull, 25. 
Las Casas. Use of force by Theodosius (391). Growth of a spirit of 
intolerance, 26. Deterioration of Christian society after 312, 27. Com- 
promises with paganism, 28. Their influence on the Christian Church, 29. 
Elaboration of Christian ceremonial. Attitude of missionaries towards 
heathen superstitions, 30. Two missionary religions. ITie worship of 
Isis, 31. Osiris. Mithraism. The date of Christmas borrowed from 
Mithraism, 32. Mithra a Persian deity. Mithraic teaching and ritual, 33. 
Rehgious quarrels of the Christians, 34. Obstacles to the spread of 
Christianity in the fourth century. Their counterparts in modern 
India, 35. Conversion of rulers preceded that of their subjects. Its 
resultant superficiality, 36. The earliest Christian converts, 37. Miracles 
attributed to missionaries. A miracle attributed to Columba, 38. Its 
suggested explanation. Lessons to be learned from the reported 
miracles, 39. Christian Apologies. "The blood of Christians is seed." 
Influence exerted by lives of Christians, 40. And by Christian com- 
munities. Methods of Raymond Lull, 41. His efforts to effect con- 
versions by argument. Women converts in the early Church, 42. The 
spread of Christianity prior to 325. Harnack's four categories, 44. 




Ireland as a training-ground for missionaries. No Christian martyrs in 
Ireland, 46. Introduction of Christianity. Roman coins in Ireland. 
Irish bishops on the continent, 47. Visit of Palladius. Ireland's patron 
saint, 48. St. Patrick's own writings. Lives of St. Patrick. Biographi- 
cal details, 49. His sojourn in Gaul, 51. His return to Britain. His 
work in Ireland, 52. Doubtful statements by his biographers. Did 
Patrick visit Rome ? 54. Chronology suggested by Dr. Whitley 
Stokes, 55. Chronology suggested by Prof. Bury. Miracles attributed 
to St. Patrick. Statements by Tirechan and Muirchu, 56. Patrick's 
death (461). His teaching, 57. His character, 58. The Lorica. The 
keeping of Easter, 59. Introduction of the monastic system, 60. Use 
of the Latin language. Other contemporary bishops, 61. A national 
Church of Ireland. St. Bridget, 62. A revival of paganism. Effects 
of the Danish invasion, 63. Influence of the Druids. Superficial con- 
versions. Worship of Thor in Armagh, 64. Multiplicity of bishops. 
Irish monasticism, 65. 



Early traces of Christianity. Inscription at Kirkmadrine. Use of the word 
" Scotia," 68. Idols. St. Ninian. Candida Casa monastery, 69. 
Palladius in Scotland ? 70. St. Ternan and St. Serf. St. Kentigern, 71. 
Visit to Wales. Meeting with St. Columba. St. Columba, 72. His life 
in Ireland, 73. The Irish life of Columba, 74. Arrival at lona. Visit 
to King Brude, 75. He revisits Ireland. References in Bede, 76. 
Columba's intercessory prayers, 77. Adamnan's description of his 
death, 78. Character of St. Columba, 80. Bp. Westcott on Columba's 
sympathy, 81. Efforts to evangelize the Picts. Missionary settlements 
in the far North, 82. 

Orkney and Shetland Islands 
Visit of Columba (565). Irish monks in the Shetland Islands, 83. 



Introduction of Christianity. Early intercourse with Syria, 85. Statements 
by Clement and Martial. King Lucius, 86. Inscription in St. Paul's 
Cathedral. Lucius or Abgarus ? 87. Joseph of Arimathea. State- 
ments by Tertullian and Origen, 88. St. Alban, 89. Constantius at 
York, 90. British bishops at Aries, Sardica, and Rimini, 91. State- 
ments by Chrysostom and Jerome. British Christians at Jerusalem. 
Pelagius, 92. Germanus and Lupus, 93. The Saxon invasions. Mas- 
sacres of British Christians, 94. British hatred of Saxons, 95. Fastidius 
on the missionary obligation. Capture of London (568), 96. Gildas re 
British clergy. King Arthur, 97. Export of slaves from Britain. 


Gregory and the English boys, 98. Sources of information, 99. St. 
Augustine. Gregory's letter to Augustine, 100. Journey to Britain 
resumed. Bishop Liudhard and Q. Bertha, 101. Arrival of mission- 
aries in Britain. Interview with Ethelbert, 102. Arrival at Canter- 
bury. Baptism of Ethelbert, 103. Consecration of Augustine. Letters 
to Eulogius, 104. Ten thousand converts. Augustine's questions. 
Gregory's replies, 105. An Anglican liturgy, 106. Idol temples not to 
be destroyed. Retention of heathen festivals, 107. More bishops to be 
consecrated. Conference with British bishops, 108. Consecration of 
Mellitus and Justus, 110. Death of Augustine : his character and work, 
111. Archbishop Laurence : his appeal to bishops in Ireland. Death 
of Ethelbert (616), 113. Expulsion of Melhtus. Extent of Augustine's 
influence. Conversion of King Eadbald, 114. Bishop Justus at 
Rochester. Redwald, king of the East Anglians, 115. Edwin, king of 
Northumbria. Paulinus. Baptism of Eanfled, 116. Pope Boniface's letters 
to Edwin. Edwin decides to become a Christian. Speech of Coifi, 117. 
Man's hfe like the flight of a sparrow. Destruction of heathen temples, 
118. Baptism of Edwin, 119. Heathen reaction. Peace re-established 
by Edwin. Paulinus in Lincolnshire. Conversion and death of Eorpwald 
in E. Anglia, 120. King Sigebert. Bishop Felix, 121. St. Fursey. 
Sigebert enters a monastery, 122. King Anna. Edwin killed at Heath- 
field (633). Penda, 123. Heathen reaction in Northumbria, 124. James 
the deacon. Eang Oswald. Battle of Heavenfield (634). Oswald 
applies to Scotland for a bishop. Bishop Corman, 125. St. Aidan. 
Lindisfarne, 126. Spread of the Christian faith. Bede's description of 
Aidan, 127. Aidan's missionary journeys, 128. His efforts to promote 
education : his miracles, 129. Oswald killed at Maserfield (642). Oswin. 
Death of Aidan (651). Disputes in regard to Easter, 130. Celtic monks 
leave Lindisfarne : their work in Northumbria, 131. Aidan and the 
ministry of women. Bishop Lightfoot on character of Aidan, 132. 
Aidan's share in the conversion of England, 133. End of the Celtic 
Mission, 134. St. Hilda, 135. 

The Conversion of Wessex 

Extent of Wessex. St. Birinus, 1 36. The see of Dorchester. King Kenwalch , 
Bishop Agilbert, 137. Bishop Wini purchases the see of London. 
Bishop Leutherius, 138. Bpp. Daniel and Aldhelm. Conquest of the 
1. of Wight (630). The I. of Wight evangehzed by Wilfrid, 139. 

The Conversion of Mercia 

Penda, king of Mercia. Introduction of Christianity. Baptism of Penda, 140. 
Penda's attitude towards Christianity. Death of Penda (655). King 
Wulfhere, 141. 

The Conversion of Sussex 

Isolation of Sussex. Wilfrid in Sussex (681). Dicul, 142. Baptism of King 
Ethel walch, Queen Ebba, and many others, 143. Wilfrid teaches his 
converts to fish. Selsey monastery. Baptism of 250 slaves, 144. Wilfrid 
leaves Sussex. Eadbert, Bishop of SeLsey (709), 145. 

The Conversion of the East Saxons 

Conversion of King Sabert (604). Mellitus at Canterbury. Reconversion of 
London, 146. Baptism of Sigebert by Bp. Finan. Murder of Sigebert. 


Baptism of King Suidhelm, 147. Cedd in Yorkshire. Death of Cedd 
(664), 148. Kings Sighere and Sebbi. A heathen reaction. Bp. Jaruman 
in London (665), 149. Bp. Wini. Cornish crosses. Welsh saints. Irish 
saints, 150. Cornwall connected with Brittany and S. Wales. The Scilly 
Inlands, 151, 



Early traditions. Bran, 152. Germanus in Wales. lUtut, 153. Christian 
Picts in S. Wales. Dubricius. St. David, 154. The wearing of the leek. 
Taffy. The monastery at Menevia, 156. St. Kentigern in Wales. 
St. Cadoc, 157. Christian refugees in Wales. Celtic Christianity : its 
independent character, 158. Celtic monks not necessarily celibates, 
159. Early Welsh Christianity. Welsh bishops. Welsh saints. Virgin 
saints, 160, 



Druidism in ancient Gaul, 162. Bishop Dionysius. Persecution at Lyons and 
Vienne (177), 163. Martyrdom of Pothinus and Blandina, 164, Irenseus, 
Bp. of Lyons. The Church predominantly Greek, 165. Other Christian 
Churches. St. Symphorian. Ferreolus and Ferrutio, 166. The Passio 
Saturnini. Lyons. Story of the seven bishops, 167. St. Gatianus, 
St. Trophimus, 168. A Church at Arle's in 253. St. Paulus. St. Satur- 
ninus, 169. St. Dionysius. St. Stremonius, 170. Abraham. St. Martial. 
See of Auxerre. Early martyrs, 171. The Thebaid legion, 172. Other 
martyrs. Council of Aries (314), 173. Athanasius in Gaul (336), 174. 
Mansuetus. Hilary writes against teaching of Arians, 175. Martin of 
Poitiers, 176. Monastery of Marmoutier. Martin's missionary labours, 
177. His destruction of idols and temples. A sacred tree. The 
Celtic language, 179. Martin's fame in England : his life and char- 
acter, 180. His belief in the powers of evil, 181. His visions, 182. 
Victricius. Honoratus of Lerins, 183. St. Germanus. Abbey of 
St. Victor at Marseilles. Invasion of Vandals, Alans and Sueves, 184. 
Attila (451). The Burgundians, 186. Conversion of the Western Bur- 
gundians and of the Eastern Burgundians, 187. Burgundians as Arians. 
Conversion of Clovis (496), 188. Organization of the GaUican Church. 
Columbanus, 189. His arrival in Gaul (573), 190. Difficulties and hard- 
ships. Monastery at Luxeuil, 191. Its independence of episcopal control. 
Foundation of other monasteries, 192. Deplorable condition of Gallic 
episcopacy. Witness of Montalembert, 193. Witness of Boniface. 
Causes of moral degeneracy, 194. Letter of Columbanus to Frankish 
bishops, 195. Columbanus expelled from Luxeuil : his independence of 
Roman authority, 196. Character of Columbanus : his denunciation of 
his enemies, 197. Celtic missionaries on the continent, 198. Their secular 
learning : theirstudyof the Holy Scriptures : their penitential system, 199. 
Monasteries in Northern Gaul. Remains of paganism, 200. St. Valery of 
Auvergne. St. Riquier. St. Eustace, 201. The hermit Wulflaich. 
St. Omer. Irish missionaries in Brittany, 202. Difficulties under which 
missionaries to Gaul laboured, 203. 




Introduction of Christianity. Prisca and Aquila. Aristobulus, 204. St. Peter 
in Rome. Clemens and Domitilla. Bishop Soter, 205. Statement by 
Eusebius. Bishop Callistus. Christians of high rank, 206. Christian 
orators and grammarians. Statements by Tertullian and Dionysius of 
Alexandria. Christian soldiers in the Roman army, 207. Pachomius, 208. 
Christians in Pompeii ? Use of the Greek language, 209. A Latin Bible. 
The number of Christians in Rome in 251, 210. Spread of Christianity. 
Statement by Gaudentius. Slow progress in the country districts, 211. 
Christian burials in the catacombs. Sites of bishoprics (325). Christianity 
in north Italy, 212. Luxury in the Christian Church (366). Pagan 
ceremonies prohibited, 213. Decline of paganism in Rome, 214. Removal 
of pagan images. Destruction of temples. The belief in magic, 215. 
Capture of Rome by Alaric (410). Heathen gods v. Christian saints, 216. 
Zeus and Athena v. Krishna and Kali, 217. The sublimation of heathen 
teachings. JuMan, 218. Paganism the state reUgion till 383, 219. The 
weakness of rejuvenated paganism. Survival of paganism in the country 
districts, 220. Benedict preaches to pagans in 529. Columbanus in 
Italy (613) : his death at Bobbio (615), 221. St. Barbatus becomes 
bishop of Beneventum, 222. Constantine's influence on the Christian 
Church, 223. The compromise between paganism and Christianity, 224. 
Bp. Westcott on the character of Constantine. Results of his conversion, 
225. Constantine v. Marcus AureHus. The religion of M. Aurelius, 226. 
Diary of M. Aurelius. Christianity in the early Middle Ages, 228. 



Countries included in the Balkan Peninsula. Christian communities in 100 a. d. , 
230. St. Peter in Greece. Dionysius of Corinth, 231. Christianity con- 
fined to the towns. PhiUppi. Thessalonica. Atjiens. Corinth, 232. 
Lacedsemon. Achaia. Byzantium, 233. The Peloponesus. Dalmatia. 
Salona. Moesia, 234. Moesians at Jerusalem. Council of Sardica (343). 
Invasion by the Goths, 235. Forcible conversions under Justinian, 236. 
Paganism in Constantinople. Bishop Cyrus. Baptism of pagans in Con- 
stantinople, 237. Rumanians in Volhynia and Moldavia, 238. 

The Conversion of the Goths 

Early history of the Goths, 238. Goths in the Crimea (268), 239. Eutyches, 
a missionary to the Goths. Christian captives as missionaries^ 240. 
Ulfilas : doubts concerning his nationaHty, 241. Life by Auxentius. 
The teaching of Ulfilas, 242. His early life : his consecration as a bishop 
(341), 243. His work in Dacia : in Moesia, 244. Pastoral life of the 
Goths, 245. Persecution by Athanaric (369). Audius, 246. St. Saba. St. 
Nicetas, 247. Frithigern, 248. Invasion by the Huns (375). Battle of 
Adrianople (378). Crossing of the Danube by Goths (380), 249. Ulfilas 
at Council of Constantinople (360). Was Ulfilas an Arian ? The Con- 
fession of Ulfilas, 250. His denunciation of heretics : his translation of 
the Bible, 251. The Gothic alphabet, 252. Disappearance of the Gothic 
Bible. Rediscovery of fragments. Character of the version, 253. A 


commentary on St. John. Ulfilas' missionary labours, 254. His death 
at Constantinople (381). The work accomplished by Ulfilas, 255. Testi- 
mony by Jerome, 256. Alaric, king of the Ooths (395). Massacre of 
Goths in Constantinople. Bishop Unila, 257. Goths in Italy, in Gaul, 
and in Spain, 258. Testimony of Augustine, 259. 

Bulgarians in the seventh century. Introduction of Christianity (813). 
Cypharas, 259. Bogoris. Methodius paints a picture of the final Judg- 
ment. Baptism of Bogoris, 260. Letter from Photius. Forcible con- 
versions. Unauthorized missionaries. Bogoris applies to Pope Nicholas. 
The Pope's letter, 261. Baptism administered by Jews. The wearing of 
the cross. Abstention from work on festival days, 263. Self-defence by 
Christians, their obhgation to fight. Preparations for battle. The treat- 
ment of emigrants, 264. Social customs. Prayers for heathen forefathers 
forbidden. Rival claims of Photius and the'^Pope, 265. Reception of 
Greek bishops. Clement of Achrida, 266. Later history of Bulgaria. A 
patriarch of Bulgaria (923), 267. 



Traditions relating to St. James, 268. St. Paul in Spain. Roman civiHzation 
in Spain. Earliest Christian communities, 269. Basihdes and Martial. 
Judgment by Cyprian, 270. Early Spanish martyrs. Writings of Pruden- 
tius. Fructuosus. Thirty martyrs, 271. St. Vincent of Zaragoza. 
Council of Elvira, 272. ImmoraHty and paganism amongst Christians, 273. 
Celibacy of the clergy. References to the Jews. Failure of attempts at 
reform, 274. Introduction of monasticism. Vigilantius denounces 
monasticism. Hosius of Cordova, 275. Invasion of Vandals and Alani 
(409). Arrival of the Goths (414). King Reccared, 276. Destruction of 
idolatry. The Gothic dominion in Spain, 277. Invasion by the Moors 
(710). Tarik. Treatment of the Christians, 278. Martyrs of Cordova 
(851). Civil wars, 279. Conquests by the Christians. Capitulation of 
Granada (1401). Baptism of 3000 Moslems. Persecution of the Moslems, 
280. Nominal conversions to Christianity. Final subjugation of the 
Moslems (1570), 281. A suggestive legend. Pope Damasus. Theo- 
dosius I, 282. 




Limits of Pannonia. Bishop Domnus (325). Other bishops in Pannonia, 284. 


Limits of Noricum. St. Florian (304). Bishops at Sardica (343), 285. De- 
struction of Christian Churches. Barbarian invaders. Severinus : his 
early life a mystery, 286. He succours the people of Favianse, 288. His 
asceticism. Arian and orthodox Christians. Severinus refuses to be 
made a bishop, 289. His dying words : Contents of his message, 290. 
The miracles attributed to him, 291. 



Limits of Moravia. Work of Archbp. Arno (836). King Rostislav asks for 
teachers, 292. Methodius and Cyril. The use of the Slavonic language, 
293. A Slavonic Bible, 294. Methodius and Cyril at Rome. The Pope 
authorizes the celebration of mass in Slavonic, 295. A Moravian Arch- 
bishopric, 296. Pagan invaders (907), 297. 


Baptism of Bohemian chiefs (845). Conversion of Borzivoi (871), 297. 
" Good King Wenceslas," 298. Thietmar, Bp. of Prague (973). Bishop 
Adalbert (982), 299. Baptism of Vayik (Stephen) in Hungary. Martyr- 
dom of Adalbert (997). The Slavonic liturgy, 300. 


The Huns. Wars with Charlemagne, 301. The baptism of Tudmi (796). 
Alcuin deprecates forcible conversions, 302. And the imposition of 
tithes, 303. The Magyars overrun Hungary (889). 303. First Magyar 
Christians. Baptism of Bulosudes and Gylas (949). Letter of Bp. 
Pilgrim (971), 304. WuKgang, Bp. of Regensburg. Visit of Bp. Adal- 
bert (994). King Stephen, 306. The Pope confers the title of " Apostohc 
kings " Foundation of bishoprics and monasteries, 308. Pagan re- 
actions. Suppression of paganism, 309. King Coloman. Mongol raids 
(1241), 310. 



Switzerland part of the Roman Empire in a.d. 15 : subjected to Frankish 
kings. First Christian missionaries, 312. Fourth century bishoprics. 
The Burgundians. The Alemanni. Columbanus, 313. His rejection by 
the Alemanni, 314. He settles at Bregenz. Hostility of its people. 
St. Gall on Lake Constance, 315. Departure of Columbanus, 316. Sigis- 
bert at Dissentis. Death of St. Gall (646). Fridolin, 317. 



The Belgse. Early traditions, 318. St. Eucharius. St. Maternus. A per- 
secution in the time of Nero. St. Piatus. St. ChrysoHus, 319. St. 
Eugenius. St. Martin of Tongres. St. Servatius, 320. Victricius preaches 
to the Morini. Invasion of the Huns. A pagan reaction, 321. St. 
Eleutherius of Tournai. Medardus. Lupus. Amandus, 322. Ida founds 
a nunnery at Nivelles, 323. Baptism of Sigebert. Livinus an Irish arch- 
bishop (633). St. Eligius, 324. Monastery of Solemniac. A missionary 
to the Frisians, 325. Exhortations against pagan observances, 326. 
Remaclus. Theodard. Lambert, 327. Hubert. Rumold. Gommar] 
328. Devastation wrought by the Northmen. Deplorable state of 
Christian Church, 329. A gradual improvement, 330. 




The Frisians and Batavi. Salian Franks. Saxons. Amandus, Bp. of Maes- 
tricht, 331. Visit of Wilfrid (678). Egbert of Northumbria, 332. Wig- 
bert, Willibrord, 333. Mission of Suidbert to the Boroctuarii, 334. The 
two Hewalds, 335. Willibrord's visit to Denmark : his visit to Heligo- 
land, 336. Assistance received from Charles Martel, 337. Adelbert. 
Werenfrid. Plechelm. Olger and Wiro. Visit of Wulf ram, 338. Radbod 
refuses to be baptized, 339. Boniface in Friesland (715) : his martyrdom 
(754). Gregory of Utrecht. Alubert, 340. Death of Gregory (781). 
Lebuin, 341. Heathen reaction. Baptism of Wittekind. Liudger, 342. 
Liudger in Heligoland, 343. Becomes bishop of Munster (805). Willehad, 
344. At Groningen and at Drenthe, 345. And at Wigmodia. Visit to 
Rome (782). Nominal victory of Christianity, 346. Foundation of eight 
bishoprics. Hathumarius, 347. 



The conversion of Germany occupied twelve centuries, 348. Early Christian 
communities. Statements by Ammianus, Tertullian, Arnobius, Hilary, 
349. Athanasius and Salvian, 350. 


Limits of Rhaetia. St. Afra. Christian bishoprics, 350. Valentinus. The 
Alemanni, 351. Trudpert. Kilian. Pirminius : his description of the 
Alemanni. Emmeran, 352. 

Northern Bavaria 

The Maicomanni. Rupert of Worms. Corbinian, 353. Bishoprics in Bavaria. 
The Bavarian Church in the eighth century, 354. Odilo. Christian 
Germany in the ninth century, 355. 

The Work of Boniface 

Irish missionaries in N. Germany. Lives of St. Boniface, 356. Kingdoms of 
the Franks, 357. Early life of Boniface : he sails for Frisia, 358. Visit 
to Rome : his work in Thuringia, 359. Converts in Hessia. Conse- 
crated as a bishop (723), 360. His appeal to Charles MarteL Letter 
from Daniel, Bp. of Winchester, 361. Grounds of appeal to pagans, 362. 
Destruction of a sacred oak. Missionary recruits from England, 363. 
Wigbert. Women missionaries, 364. Letter from Gregory III. Visit of 
Boniface to Bavaria : he revisits Rome (738), 365. Death of Charles 
Martel (741), 366. A question of re-baptism, 367. Teaching of Vir- 
gilius. Boniface rebukes the Pope, 368. Formation of new dioceses. 
Sturmi, 369. Foundation of monastery at Fulda. Paganism in N. Ger- 
many. A Christian catechism, 370. A council of Frankish clergy 
(742). Its references to pagan customs, 371. Reformation of the Frankish 
Church. Boniface's letter to Pepin (753) : he appeals for the support of 
his disciples, 372. Invasion of heathen Saxons, 373. Final visit to 
Frisia. Converts in E. Frisia, 374. Martyrdom (755) : his last words. 


375. Punishment of his murderers. Character of Boniface, 376. His 
reUance on intercessory prayer, 378. Prayers for the living and dead. 
Permanent results of his work, 379. Sturmi at Fulda, 380. 

The Conversion of the Saxons 

Charlemagne's wars with the Saxons.. Opposition of the Saxons to Christi- 
anity, 380. Results of their forcible conversion. Charlemagne's empire : 
his character, 381. His social and reMgious reforms : his letter to Bp. 
Odilbert, 382. Lebuin : his appeal to the Saxons at Marklum, 383. He 
threatens the Saxons with destruction, 384. Opposition provoked by 
his address, 385. Speech by Bruto. Charlemagne's reUgious wars, 386. 
Alcuin protests against compulsion, 387. And against the exaction of 
tithes. Eigilis on the conversion of the Saxons, 388. Destruction of 
the Irmin-Saule idol. Missionary efforts of Sturmi, 389. Rising of the 
Saxons (778). Death of Sturmi (779), 390. Influence of paganism on 
the Saxons, 391. 

Wendland (Saxonia) 

The Wends. Their original home, 391. First missionaries to the Wends. 
Boso, " Apostle of the Wends." Three missionary bishops, 392. Pagan 
reaction under Mistewoi. Conversion of Gottschalk (1047). Mission- 
aries sent by Adalbert, 393. Murder of Gottschalk. John, Bp. of 
Mecklenburg, 394. Cruko. Cupidity of the Saxons, 395. Vicelin, 
missionary to the Wends. A missionary fraternity, 396. RebeUion of 
the Wends (1147). Death of Vicelin (1154). Massacre of the Wends 
(1157), 397. 


Introduction of Christianity. Bp. Reinbem. Forcible conversions (1121), 
398. The Spanish missionary, Bernard, 399. He is expelled from Julin. 
Mission of Otto (1124), 400. His method of appeal. Reception of his 
mission at Pyritz, 401. Baptisms at Pyritz. Address by Otto, 403. 
His attitude towards polygamy. Baptisms at Cammin, 404. Hostile 
reception at Julin, 405. Visit to Stettin, 406. Appeal to the Duke of 
Poland. Baptism of two youths at Stettin, 407. Further baptisms. 
Letter from the Duke of Poland. Destruction of temples at Stettin, 409. 
Triglav. Changes effected by baptism, 410. Visit to Clonoda. Otto 
administers confirmation, 411. His return to Bamberg. Slow progress 
of missionary work. Otto revisits Pomerania (1127), 412. Liberation 
of slaves. Diet at Usedom. Wratislav urges the adoption of Christi- 
anity, 413. Many baptisms. Ulric and Albin at Wolgast. A heathen 
stratagem, 414. Encodric, 415. Destruction of temple at Gutzkow. 
Consecration of a church, 416. Mitzlav sets free his prisoners, 417. Otto 
intercedes with the Duke of Poland. Island of Rugen, 418. Stettin 
revisited. Pagan reaction at Stettin, 419. Intervention of Witstack, 
420. Otto revisits Juhn. Death of Otto (1139). Results of his work, 421. 
His failure to establish a national Church. Forcible conversion of Rugen 
Island, 422. Destruction of the idol Svantovit, 423. Building of 
Christian churches, 424. 


The Slavs in Prussia. Their chief gods, 424. Adalbert of Prague (997), 425. 
His martyrdom in Samland. Bruno of Querfurt martyred (1008). Bishop 
Heinrich of Olmutz (1141), 426. Gottfried (1207). Bishop Christian. 
Letter from Pope Innocent, 427. Massacre of Christians. Knights 


Brethren of Dobrin (1219). Order of Teutonic knights, 428. Four new 
bishoprics (1243). ReHgious wars, 429. Oppression of the Slavs, Mon- 
gols V. Christians. Archbishop Suerbeer (1245), 430. The conversion 
of Prussia and of Mexico, 431. 



Methodius in Poland. Baptism of Mieceslav (966). A bishopric of Posen 
(968), 433. Introduction of foreign clergy, 434. Boleslav. A heathen 
reaction (1034). Casimir. Boleslav II, 435. Invasion by the Mongols, 



Atrebanus (780). Archbishop Ebo (823), 437. Baptism of Danish king. 
Anskar, 438. Accompanied by Autbert. A missionary school at Schles- 
wig. Ring Horick. Horick II, 439, Death of Anskar (865). Character 
of Anskar, 440. His missionary policy. Progress and reaction. King 
Gorm, 442. Archbishop Unni. King Harald (941): his baptism (972). 
Consecration of three bishops. King Sweyn (991), 443. Sweyn invades 
England. Bishop Gotebald. Canute, 444. "The German god." The 
Faroe Islands, 445. 


First Norwegian settlers (861), Baptism of Thorwald. Stefner, 446. Thang- 
brand. Gissur and Hiallti, 447. General acceptance of Christianity, 
448. Bishop Isleif (1056). Conditions of life in Iceland, 449. 



The Heimskringla by Snorro Sturleson. Harald Haarfagar, 450. King 
Hakon. The Yule festival. A bishop and teachers from England, 451. 
Meeting of the Froste Thing at Drontheim. Opposition to introduction 
of Christianity, 452. Hakon compromises with paganism. Murder of 
Christian priests, 453. Harald Ericson (963). Harald Blaatland conquers 
Norway (977). A human sacrifice, 454. Olaf Tryggvason : his baptism. 
Visit to Dublin : in the Orkney Islands, 455. Olaf recommends the 
Christian faith. Forcible spread of Christianity in Viken and Agder, 456. 
Opposition at Nidaros. A council at Maere, 457. The Bonders submit. 
Destruction of heathen images. The country " made Christian." Death 
of Olaf (1000), 458. His character. Accession of Eric. Olaf Haraldson 
(1015), 459. Missionaries from England. Olaf's efforts to spread the 
faith, 460. His punishment of unbehevers. Conversions at Maere.. 461. 
Opposition of Gudbrand, 462. Speech by Bishop Sigurd. Destruction 
of the image of Thor, 463. " All receive Christianity," 464. The collapse 
of paganism, 465. The two Olafs. Olaf Haraldson's laws. Missionaries 
from Bremen, 466. The effects of Christian teaching, 467. Canute 


conquers Norway (1026). Death of Olaf in battle (1030), 468. King 
Swend. King Magnus (1035). Establishment of schools and monas- 
teries, 469. 



Worship of Thor and Odin. Human sacrifices, 471. Results of failure to 
evangelize Scandinavia. Introduction of Christianity (829), 472. Anskar 
visits Sweden. Herigar. Anskar becomes archbishop of Hamburg, 473. 
Bishop Gautbert. His expulsion from Sweden (845). Story of a Christian 
book, 474. King Horick opposes the spread of Christianity, 475. De- 
struction of Hamburg (845). Archbishop Ebo, 476. The hermit Ardgar 
(851). Influence exerted by Herigar. Attack on Birka averted, 477. 
Anskar revisits Sweden. A national assembly, 478. Its acknowledg- 
ment of the Christians' God. Erimbert. Rimbert, 479. Unni. Odinkar. 
King Olof. Bishop Sigfrid. The Church in West Gothland, 480. Bishop 
Thurgot (1013). Spread of Christianity throughout Sweden. Bishop 
Adalward. A mission to the Lapps, 481. King Inge (1080). The con- 
version of Smaland. XJpsala cathedral (1138). Bishop Eskil in Soder- 
manland, 482. Three English bishops. St. Botvid. Synod of Linko- 
ping (1152). Monasticism in Sweden, 483. The island of Gotland, 484. 



Religion and politics in Russia, 485. Russia receives its Christianity from 
Constantinople, 486. The Russian Chronicle, 487. Legends concerning 
St. Andrew, 488. Askold and Dir (860) : their repulse from Constan- 
tinople. Statement by Photius (866), 489. Igor (941). A church of 
Elias at Eaev, 490. Visit of Olga to Constantinople (955). Sviatoslav, 
491. Accession of Vladimir (980) : his support of paganism. The 
Russian god Rerun, 492. Two martyrs, Theodore and John. Religious 
envoys visit Vladimir (986). The Moslems, 493. The Romans. The 
Jews, 494. A Greek philosopher. Vladimir's questions, 495. A council 
of boyars (987). Dispatch of envoys, 496. Their visit to Constantinople. 
Vladimir decides to accept Christianity, 497. He attacks Kherson (988). 
Baptism of Vladimir, 498. Baptisms at Kiev. Description of the 
baptismal service, 499. Erection of churches at Kiev. Compulsory 
education, 500. Christianity at Novgorod and Rostoff. Religious pro- 
pagandism of Vladimir, 501. Character of Vladimir. Kiev, 502. Slavery 
in Russia. Yaroslav. A Slavonic Bible, 503. Schools for the training 
of priests. Vladimir II : his dying injunctions, 504. Character of 
Vladimir II. The Petchersky monastery at Kiev, 506. A centre of 
missionary activity. Antony and Theodosius, 507. Ideals of Russian 
monks. Bishop Clement of Kiev (1197), 508. Monasteries in the far 
north. The Mongols defeated at Kalka (1224). Massacres by the 
Mongols, 509. Description by Piano Carpini. Usbek Khan. Monks 
as missionaries to the Finns, 510. Sergius (1315-92), 511. Northern 
monasteries. Stephen of Perm, 512. Livonia. The monk Meinhard 
(1184), 513. Bishop Theodoric, 514. Bishop Berthold (1196): his 
resort to force : his death in battle. Bishop Apeldern, 515 : subjugates 
the Lieflanders. The " Order of the Sword," 516. Baptisms in Esthonia. 


Biblical plays in Riga. Work of Sigfrid. Archbp. Andreas at Riga, 517. 
Martyrdom of Frederic of Celle. The Church in Livonia, 518. Intro- 
duction of Christianity into Esthonia, A crusade against the Esthonians 
(1219). Christianity spread by force, 519. The Lithuanians. Baptism 
of Mendowg (1250). Heathen reaction (1260), 520. Yagello. Christi- 
anity accepted as the national religion. Pagan customs in Lithuania, 521. 
Yagello assists the Christian missionaries. The Earl of Derby in Lithuania 
(1390). Missionary labours of Withold (1413), 522. Introduction of 
Christianity into Finland. St. Juri in Kazan. The Tartars of Kazan, 
523. Ilminsky : his work amongst the Tartars, 524. A missionary 
school at Kazan, 525. Vassili Timofeiev. The Kazan Translation Com- 
mittee, 526. The Ilminsky system. Moslems in Russia, 527. Mission- 
ary work amongst Moslems. The treatment of unbelievers and heretics 
in Russia, 528. The missionary outlook, 529. 




Paul and Barnabas at Salamis. Cypriot bishops at Nicsea, 530. And at 
Sardica. S. Epiphanius, 531. 

Titus in Crete. Bishop Pinytus of Cnossus, 531. 

Rhodes, Melos, etc. 

Rhodes. Thera, 531. Melos. Patmos. Cos, Lemnos, Corcyra, Lesbos, 
^gina, 532. 


Christian catacombs. A Church in Syracuse, 532. 

St. Paul in Malta. Publius, 533. 


Callistus, 533. Pontian and Hippol3;i:us. Lucifer, Bp. of Cagliari. Sym- 
machus, 534. 

Corsica, Elba 

Corsica, 534. Elba, 535. 



Treatment of the Jews by the Christian Church, 536. The Jews held respon- 
sible for the persecution of Christians. Forcible conversions : their 
wickedness and futility, 537. Conversions effected by kindness, in Spain 


and in Crete, 538. Persecution of Jews approved by nearly all Christians. 
No Hebrew N.T. till 1599. Statements by Sidonius ApoUinaris, 539. 
Bishop Grosstete. Peter of Cluny. Thomas Aquinas, 540. Luther, 541. 

The Jews in Italy 

Attitude of Constantino towards the Jews. Constantius. Theodosius I. 
Ambrose, 541. Theodosius II. Theodoric. Pope Gregory, 542. 
Innocent III. Nicholas III. Clement IV. Martin V, 543. CornegUo 
burnt in Rome. The Jews forced to hear sermons, 544. 

The Jews in France 

Jews at Aries in 449. Restrictions imposed by early Councils. Persecutions 
by Childebert, 545. And Chilperic. Fifth Council of Paris (615). 
Dagobert. Charlemagne, 546. Archbp. Amilo. Treatment of the Jews 
at Beziers. Persecution by the Crusaders. Remonstrance by Pope 
Gregory IX, 547. Massacre of Jews at Treves, 548. Jews banished from 
France (1181). Louis IX burns copies of the Talmud. Emancipation 
of the Jews (1791), 549. 

The Jews in Spain 

Decrees of Council of Elvira. King Sisebut, 549. Protest by Bishop Isidore. 
Fourth Council of Toledo. King Chintila (637). Sixth Council of Toledo 
(638). King Recceswinth (654), 550. Seventeenth Council of Toledo 
(694). Kindly treatment by the Moors. The " golden age " of the 
Jews in Spain, 551. Massacre of Jews by Moslems. Massacre by 
Christians at Toledo (1296). Preaching in Jewish synagogues, 552. 
Jewish population in Spain. A series of massacres. The preaching of 
Vincent Ferrer, 553. A public disputation. Establishment of the In- 
quisition (1480), 554. Expulsion of the Jews (1492). The Jews in 
Portugal. Judaism a permanent factor in Spain, 555. Testimony of 
Borrow, 556. 

The Jews in England 

Early references to Jews in England, 556. William Rufus. Accusations of 
ritual murders. Attitude of the friars, 557. Massacre at York. King 
John. Stephen Langton. Franciscans protect Jews, 558. Jews com- 
pelled to hear sermons. Expulsion of the Jews (1290). Invited back 
by Cromwell (1655), 559. A bill to naturalize Jews (1753), 560. 

The Jews in Central Europe 

Massacres by German Crusaders. Remonstrance by Bernard of Clairvaux, 
560. Frederic II protects the Jews. Bull of Innocent IV. Council of 
Vienna (1267), 561. Attitude of Luther. Sabbathai, "the Messiah'* 
(1666). Spinoza, 562. Jews in Poland and Galicia. Massacre of Polish 
Jews (1655), 563. 

The Jews in Russia 

Jews in Russia, 563. Russian clergy converted to Judaism (1490). Perse- 
cution under Ivan the Terrible. Expulsion of the Jews by Catharine, 564. 
Efforts to convert Jews. Mission to Jews in Russia. A Mission of the 
Orthodox Church (1817). Other Missions, 565. Baptism of Jews. 
Zionism. Enfranchisement of the Jews (1917). Distribution of the 


Jews in Europe, 566. London Jews' Society (1809). Results of Missions 
to the Jews. Notable Christian Jews, 567. Rapprochement between 
Jews and Christians, 568. A new religious era, 570. 



Superficial character of conversion of Europe. A spiritual kingdom cannot 
be established by material force, 571. Has Christianity been tried and 
failed ? The re-conversion of Europe, 572. Undue haste displayed by 
early missionaries, 573. The establishment of the Kingdom of God in 
Europe, 574. 



1. England in the seventh century . . .102 

2. Western Europe at the end of the seventh century . igo 

3. The Balkan Peninsula in the fifth century . . 230 

4. Central Europe in the fourth century . . 284 

5. Central Europe at the end of the ninth century . 348 

6. The Baltic Provinces early in the thirteenth 

CENTURY ..... . 450 




The study of the spread of the Christian faith through- Missions 
out Europe should have for us a twofold interest. ^meJ/ 
In the first place it should help towards an intelligent 
appreciation of the later developments of religious 
life that are to be seen to-day amongst the various 
peoples of Europe. A knowledge of the circumstances 
under which the conversion of a particular race was 
effected will often throw light upon the subsequent 
evolution of its individual and national religion and 
may in some instances help us to interpret its sub- 
sequent history. 

The knowledge, for instance, that Christianity only 
displaced paganism in some parts of modern Prussia 
during the fourteenth century and that the people 
who were then converted, after being treated with every Their 
refinement of cruelty, were finally given the choice of J^g^i^^ 
death or conversion, may help us to understand, and 
should mitigate our denunciation of, the barbarities 
that have been committed by descendants of these 
converts in the course of the recent war. If the British, 
the French and the Italians have departed less widely 
than have the Prussians from the dictates of Chris- 
tianity in their conduct of the war, they have had resting 


upon them obligations created by the fact that Christian 
influences have been working amongst them for more 
than twice as long as amongst their northern foes. 

In the second place a study of the work accomplished 
by Christian missionaries during the first fourteen 
centuries should throw light upon many of the pro- 
blems that confront their successors in all parts of the 
Mission Field to-day. If the politician or social re- 
former is bound to acquaint himself with the history 
of the past and with the efforts that have been made 
by his predecessors in all lands to ameliorate the con- 
ditions of human existence, a similar obligation rests 
upon those who are trying to minister to the deepest 
Light needs of men. It can only be by a careful and pro- 
%o^x^- longed study of past missionary efforts that we can 
sent-day j^^p^ ^o benefit by the experience, and to avoid the 

problems. ^ ,i ip i.i 

mistakes, of those who have gone before and to whose 
efforts we are indebted for our own knowledge of the 
Christian faith. 

The very fact that a space of fourteen centuries 
separates the day on which '' strangers from Rome " 
listened to St. Peter's first missionary sermon, delivered 
at the Feast of Pentecost, from the day when the nomi- 
nal, we dare not say the real, conversion of Europe 
was completed, whilst it should serve to rebuke the 
impatience of those who are dissatisfied with the pro- 
gress of Christian Missions in modern times, suggests 
also that there was something lacking either in the 
contents of the message delivered by the pioneer 
missionaries in Europe, or in the methods by which 
they sought to proclaim their message. If the Christian 
Church of to-day is to possess any real missionary policy, 


and if it is to avoid the mistakes committed by mission- 
aries in the past, it is clear that an obligation rests 
upon its members to study with care the records of 
missionary enterprise that have been preserved. 

The first difficulty with which the student of Missions 
in Eiu-ope is confronted is raised by the paucity of his 
materials, and the unsatisfactory nature of those which 
are available. Anyone who has made himself familiar, 
whether by study or personal observation, with the 
methods employed in the Mission Field to-day and with 
the conditions under which missionary work is being 
carried on, and who desires to institute a comparison 
between the labours of a modern missionary and those Paucity of 
of the men to whom the conversion of Europe was due m^tS. 
is confronted by serious difficulties. When he attempts 
to get back to the earhest existing sources of infor- 
mation he discovers that, whilst there is often a super- 
abundance of ecclesiastical information available, there 
is a sad dearth of materials that shed hght upon the 
life and work of the men who accomplished the humble 
task of ordinary missionaries. To learn the number 
or the names of the bishops who occupied particular 
sees, or even the dates at which the sees were estabhshed, 
is of comparatively small interest to anyone who 
desires to enter into and appreciate the labours of 
those by whom the task of evangeUzation was actually 
accompKshed. In the case of Great Britain and Ire- 
land the materials are more abundant than elsewhere, 
but even in these countries they are all too scanty. 
How much would we give to know by what means 
and under what conditions the Gospel was first preached 
to the various tribes on the continent of Europe who 


were led, at a very early date, to adopt a profession of 
Arian Christianity, as for example, the Visigoths in France, 
the Ostrogoths in Pannonia, the Suevians in Spain, the 
Gepidse, the Vandals, the followers of Odoacer and the 
Lombards ? One, perhaps the chief, reason for the 
dearth of information in these particular instances is 
that all these tribes were converted by Arian mission- 
aries whom their orthodox successors regarded with 
such disfavour that they did not think it worth while 
to preserve, or hand down, any account of their labours. 
The only Arian missionary of whose work we can form 
any clear conception is Ulfilas the Apostle of the Goths 
(318-374), whose life, written by one of his own pupils, 
has happily survived. But even in his case the materials 
that have survived are hardly more than sufficient to 
accentuate our longing to recover those that have been 
lost. Of the available materials which throw light 
upon the methods adopted by the early missionaries, 
some of the most valuable for the continent of Europe, 
as distinguished from Great Britain and Ireland, are 
the letters of the early popes which have been pre- 
Mission- scrvcd at Rome. It is true that we have a number of 
raphies^ missionary biographies, but these were for the most 
part written so many years, or even centuries, after 
the death of the missionaries that they are of small 
historic value, and, even when the writers were their 
contemporaries, as were the biographers of Martin of 
Tours, of Gregory of Poitiers, of Severinus of Nori- 
cum, of Boniface, or of Columbanus, they dwell so 
much upon the asceticism, the endurance and the 
miraculous powers of their subjects, that they have 
little time to tell us of their modes of teaching or of 


the means by which they endeavoured to adapt their 
message to the varying needs of the peoples amongst 
whom they laboured. In a few instances, e.^. in the 
case of Patrick, Columbanus, Martin, Bciiif^^o and 
some others, we have letters or confessions preserved 
which, though they tell us little concerning the methods 
of missionary work that the writers adopted, neverthe- 
less throw valuable light upon their own characters 
and idiosyncrasies and help us to realize the times in 
which they lived. It is only by a long and diligent 
examination of many different sources of information^ 
that it is possible, to any extent, to picture to ourselves 
the scenes amongst which the pioneer missionaries 
in Europe moved, or to draw from their experiences 
any useful deductions in view of the prosecution of 
missionary work throughout the world to-day. The 
more we study the story of the past the more we feel 
that there is no appellation of which any human being The title 
has better cause to be humbly proud than that oftianmis- 
'' Christian missionary." Wherever the foot of man^^^"^^^" 
has trod the missionary has followed, inspired by love 
to his Master and by the belief that the revelation of 
this love is the one only cure for the world's sorrow. 
He has traversed seas, threaded his way through 
forests, braved starvation and want amidst hostile 
tribes : misunderstood, ridiculed, persecuted and tor- 
tured, he has shown himself to be the sympathetic 
friend of all and has ministered to the wants aHke of 
their souls and their bodies. He has shunned no diffi- 
culty and been daunted by no danger, but has rebuked 
sin, worked righteousness and wrought reform amongst 

^ For a list of some of these sources see Bibliography, p. 675 ft. 


all races with whom he has lived. His only visible 
weapon of attack has been a book, his only means of 
defence the " shield of prayer." Whilst conscious 
of his many shortcomings and repeated failures, he has 
been upheld by the conviction that amidst all his 
sorrows and difficulties his divine Master walked ever 
by his side, and by the knowledge that the task to 
which He called him was divine. 

The story of the conversion of Europe, if it could be 
adequately told, would form the most wonderful and 
inspiring volume which, apart from the Bible, has ever 
been produced. Its glory and inspiration can in some 
faint degree be discerned from the perusal of the 
narratives that have been preserved and which it is 
possible to accept as history. 
Mission- Professor WiUiam James speaks of the typical 
ary saints, (.j^j^ig^i^j^ ^g^j^t as " an effective ferment of goodness." 
The expression might justly be appHed to the early 
missionaries the influence of whose lives, apart alto- 
gether from their teaching, tended to leaven with a 
Christian leaven the heathen mass on which their 
influence was exerted. His description of the role 
accomphshed by the " saints " is apphcable to many 
of the pioneers of Missions in Europe. 
Their After pointing out that Christianity stands for a 

ttfworid! belief that " every soul is virtually sacred " and that 
we must despair of no one, he writes : " The saints 
with their extravagance of human tenderness are the 
great torch-bearers of this behef, the tip of the wedge, 
the clearers of the darkness. Like the single drops 
which sparkle in the sun as they are flung far ahead 
of the advancing wave-crest or of a flood, they show 


the way and are forerunners . . . they are impreg- 
nators of the world, vivifiers and animators of potentia- 
Uties of goodness which, but for them, would lie for ever 
dormant. It is not possible to be quite as mean as we 
natmrally are when they have passed before us. One 
fire kindles another, and without that overtrust in 
human worth which they show, the rest of us would 
he in spiritual stagnancy." ^ 

" It is not the primary function of the Church to 
diffuse an elevating influence over the world," says 
another modern writer ; " its primary function is to 
make saints ... in order that it may really convert 
the world." ^ 

The writings of the Fathers contain hardly more Early re- 
than a few fragmentary references to the missionary Q^^Stian^ 
activities of the early Christians. We may perhaps "^i^' 
interpret the allusion in the Third Epistle of St. John 
to those who, "for the sake of the Name, went forth 
taking nothing of the Gentiles," as referring to mission- 
aries who were accustomed to receive nothing from 
those whom they sought to convert. Eusebius re- state- 
ferring to the missionary work carried on* by the gene- EuLbius. 
ration of Christians which succeeded that of the apostolic 
age, writes : '' Very many of the disciples of that age 
(pupils of the apostles) whose heart had been ravished 
by the divine Word with a burning love for philosophy 
\i,e. asceticism] had first fulfilled the command of the 
Saviour and divided their goods among the needy. 
Then they set out on long journeys performing the 
office of evangelists, eagerly striving to preach Christ 

1 The Varieties of Religious Ex- 2 rpj^^ English Saints, W. H. 

perience, 357 f. Hutton, p. 3. 



to those who, as yet, had never heard the word of faith, 

and to deUver to them the holy gospels. In foreign 

lands they merely laid the foundations of the faith, 

and afterwards they appointed others as shepherds, 

entrusting them with the care of those who had 

been recently brought into (the Church), while 

they themselves proceeded with the grace and 

co-operation of God to other countries, and to other 

peoples." 1 

The From the Didache we learn that there were 

Didache. itinerant missionaries who bore the title of " apostle " 

at the beginning of the second century .^ " Origen and 

Eusebius assure us that they existed during the second 

century and Origen indeed knows of such even in his 

own day, but the name of ' apostle ' was no longer 

borne, owing to the heightened reverence felt for the 

The title Original apostles, and also owing to the idea, which 

Apostle. gg^jj^Q^ currency even in the course of the second century, 

that the original apostles had already preached the 

gospel to the whole world. This idea prevented any 

subsequent missionaries from being apostles, since 

they were no longer the first to preach the gospel 

to the nations." ^ 

statement Writing in the third century Origen declares that it 

by Origen. .^ ^ distinguishing characteristic of a Christian to act 

as a missionary to others. Thus he writes, " Christians 

do all in their power to spread the faith all over the 

world. Some of them accordingly make it the business 

of their Ufe to wander not only from city to city but 

1 Hist. Ecd. iii. 37. in the Didache than were formerly 

2 Recent critics are disposed to accorded to them. 

assign a later date and a lower value ^ Harnack, The Mission and Ex- 

to the historical statements contained pansion of Christianity, i. 349. 


from township to township and village to village in 
order to gain fresh converts for the Lord." ^ 

In order to form any adequate conception of the 
missionary efforts that resulted in the conversion of 
Europe, it is necessary to take into consideration the 
part played by monasteries and monks. 

With the exception of Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose of Mission- 
Milan, Leo the Great, and a very few others, all the monks. 
great teachers in the Christian Church during the 
fourth and fifth centuries were monks, or had been 
trained in monasteries. Pacome (292-348) introduced Origin of 
monasticism into Egypt and by 356 a single town, ^g"*^^'*'' 
Oxyrhynchus, is said to have contained 10,000 monks 
and 20,000 consecrated virgins. Monasteries were first 
estabhshed in Italy in the middle of the fourth century 
by Athanasius and his followers, and a great impetus 
to their expansion was given by the writings of Jerome 
and Augustine. The first monastery in Gaul was 
founded by Martin of Tomrs in 360 at Liguge near 
Poitiers. He founded another soon afterwards at 
Marmoutier. About 400 ^ Honoratus founded the still 
more famous monastery of Lerins on an island near 
Toulon. By the end of the fifth century monasteries 
had been established in nearly all the provinces of 
the Roman Empire, many of which, being on the borders 
of the empire, were in touch with the barbarians who 
lay beyond. By the end of this century, however. Spiritual 
the spiritual life of the monasteries had begun to ebb. oUh^^ 
Thus Montalembert writes of monachism, before thef^''^^" 

. _ ' teries m 

time of St. Benedict : — 5th 


1 Contra Celsum, iii. 9. Scott-Holmes, The C. Ch. in Gaul, 

2 The exact date is uncertain. Cf. p. 284 note. 


" In the West towards the end of the fifth century 
the cenobitical institution seemed to have fallen into 
the torpor and sterihty of the East. After St. Jerome, 
who died in 420, and St. Augustine, who died in 430, 
after the Fathers of Lerins, whose splendour paled 
towards 450, there was a kind of eclipse. Condat still 
shone alone upon its heights of the Jura up to the 
beginning of the sixth century. . . . Except in Ireland 
and Gaul, where in most of the provinces some new 
foundations rose, a general interruption was observable 
in the extension of the institution, whether because 
the final triumph of the barbarian invasion had stifled 
for a time the efforts of zeal and troubled the fountain 
of life at which these victorious races were to assuage 
their thirst, or that intervals of apparent inaction are 
necessary to the creations of Christian genius as to 
the forces of nature, in order to prepare them for the 
decisive evolutions of their destiny." ^ 
Amon- Later on, when monasticism had obtained a new 
revival. Icasc of life, mouks, filled with missionary zeal, spread 
over Gaul, Germany, Switzerland, Friesland and Scandi- 
navia. In Ireland and Scotland the whole organization 
of the Church became monastic. The conversion of 
the Saxons was planned and initiated by monks and, 
when the north of England relapsed into heathenism, 
it was reconverted by monks from Scotland. The 
writer whom we have just quoted speaks in another 
passage of " the superhuman efforts made during five 
centuries [the sixth to the eleventh] by legions of 
monks, perpetually renewed, to subdue, to pacify, to 
discipline and to purify the savage nations amongst 

1 Monks of the West, i. p. 514 f . 


whom they laboured, and of whom twenty barbarous 
tribes were successively transformed into Christian 
nations." ^ 

Monasticism as originally conceived did not seem Develop- 
likely to serve as an important factor in the conversion monastic 
of the non-Christian world. In many, perhaps we^^®^^* 
should be justified in saying in most, cases monasticism 
stood for individualism in so far as it tended to en- 
courage the monk to place first the saving of his own 
soul and the development of his own spiritual life.^ 
It was the success with which the latter object was 
achieved that begat within the monastic community, 
or within the breast of the individual monk, the re- 
cognition of the missionary obligation and which 
transformed many of the monasteries, especially 
in the north of Europe, into missionary seminaries. 
Thus it came about that the monk, whose foremost 
aim in seeking admission into the monastery had 
been the salvation of his own soul, became the 
most successful of missionaries for the salvation of 

Whatever views we may hold in regard to the em- No other 
ployment of monks, or of celibate clergy, as missionaries avaSie. 
to-day, we cannot but admit that under the conditions 
which prevailed throughout Europe in early mediaeval 
times the work that they accomplished could not have 
been accomplished with the same measure of success 
by any other agency. A body of married missionaries, 
dependent for their support upon the goodwill of auto- 
cratic and pagan chiefs, would have lacked the spirit 

^ Id. i. 5. in opening to themselves the way to 

2 Thus Montalembert refers to the heaven." — M. of the W., i. 19. 
early monks as " occupied above all 


of independence and enterprise which was essential 

for the successful prosecution of such work. At the 

same time it has to be admitted that the inability 

Limita- of the monks to set before their pagan hearers the pic- 

thSr out- ture of a Christian home, or a complete representation 

look. ^f ^Yie Christian life, Kmited their usefulness and tended 

to produce a one-sided type of Christianity. 

Thus Professor Hauck suggests that the interpretation 
of Christian ideals which the monks set before the world 
tended to hinder its acceptance by the educated classes. 
He quotes the poet Namatian as saying " the men 
who shunned the Hght, who called themselves by a 
Greek name, ' monks,' were to him an enigma, and 
repelled him; he did not understand why anyone 
should flee from good fortune and willingly become 
miserable . . . and should imagine that the Godhead 
should feed on dirt, and he experienced something like 
hatred towards men whom he judged practised a worse 
magic than Circe, for whilst she only transformed 
men's bodies, they transformed men's souls." ^ He 
notes that on the death of Martin of Tours the people 
chose Brictius who was an opponent of asceticism as 
his successor. 

There is doubtless a measure of truth in this criticism 
in so far as it concerns the influence exerted upon the 
educated and cultured classes, but over against it we 
Their must sct the far-reaching influence which the life of a 
S^work Christian community exerted upon uncivihzed peoples. 
Thus Dr. Skene, comparing the evangeUstic methods 
adopted by individual missionaries and by those who 
lived together as monks, writes : '' The monastic 

1 Hauck, K, D. i. 57 f. Namatian, de redit, i. 439 ff. and 517. 


missionaries did not commence their work, as the 
earUer secular Church would have done, by arguing 
against their idolatry, superstition and immorality, and 
preaching a purer faith, but they opposed to it the anta- 
gonistic characteristics and purer life of Christianity. 
. . . They exhibited a life of purity, hohness and self- 
denial. They exercised charity and benevolence and 
they forced the respect of the surrounding pagans 
to a life the motives of which they could not com- 
prehend, unless they resulted from principles higher 
than those their pagan religion afforded them; and 
having won their respect for their Kves, and their 
gratitude for their benevolence, these monastic mis- 
sionaries went among them with the Word of God in 
their hands, and preached to them the doctrines and 
pure morality of the Word of Life." ^ 

In describing the work accompHshed by missionary 
monks in the several countries of Europe we shall 
find frequent illustrations of the truth of the above 

It has sometimes been suggested by critics of modern The 
missionary methods that to form missionary societies ^pp^^ 
with the object of sending out and affording material ^.^ ^K" 

,,.... ^ sionarie 

support to missionaries m non-Christian countries is 
to adopt a method that is opposed in principle to the 
methods by which Missions were maintained in earher 
times. It has been asserted that Missions ought 
to be self-supporting, and the example of St. Paul 
has been quoted as showing that a missionary ought 
to be able to maintain himself, if need be by his 
manual labour, amongst the people to whom he is 

' Celtic Scotland, ii. p. 73 f. 




trying to appeal.^ The point raised is one of con- 
siderable interest and importance. The argument 
The deduced from the example of St. Paul is seen to be 

of st.^^ of doubtful value when we recall his words addressed 
to the Christians at Phihppi : "Ye Philippians know 
also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I 
departed from Macedonia, no church communicated 
with me as touching giving and receiving but ye 
only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and 
again unto my necessity." We do not know whether 
any kind of missionary society was called into existence 
at Philippi for the support of St. Paul and his fellow- 
missionaries, but the principle involved in the support 
of missionaries at a distance from the spot where the con- 
tributions were raised and to which he gave his approval 
is the principle on which modern missionary societies 
act to-day. St. Paul's words moreover clearly show 
that he had not found it possible to support himself 
by his manual labour, or by the contributions of the 
people whom he was trying to evangelize. 
and of When we pass on from St. Paul's missionary labours 

in Europe to those of a later time we find no traces 
of attempts on the part of individual missionaries to 
support themselves by the exercise of a trade or pro- 
fession. When a pioneer missionary endeavoured to 
start a Mission he began by appealing to the ruler of 
the country, and as his continuance in the country in 

^ In view of the fact that this Missionary Association : " Quaker 

principle has been maintained by the Missions have, in most cases, adopted 

Quakers more strongly than by any the method of paid evangelists and 

other Body of Christians it is inter- pastors. It has seemed to be the 

esting to read in a recently published only thing to do." {Friends beyond 

history of Quaker Missions written Seas, by H. T. Hodgkin, p. 236.) 
by the Secretary of the Friends' 

later mis 


which he desired to reside depended upon the goodwill 
of the ruler, so, having obtained this goodwill, he ex- 
pected to receive from him land on which to settle and 
in most instances the means whereby to support liim- 
self and his followers. Thus Augustine received from 
Ethelbert the land on which he built his monastery, 
Aidan received from King Oswald the island of Lindis- 
farne, WiUibrord in Holland received from Pepin the 
'' assistance of his imperial authority." When Boni- 
face was anticipating his own death, he sent an urgent 
request to the emperor that he would provide for the 
support of his fellow-missionaries after his death. In 
some instances attempts were made to evangeKze a 
pagan tribe without obtaining the approval of the head 
of the tribe, but in such cases the missionaries were 
provided in advance with a sufficient supply of food 
and other necessaries and were not infrequently assisted 
by the authority, or prestige, of the king of the country 
from which they set out.^ In course of time the monas- 
tery established by the pioneer missionaries became Seif-sup- 
self-supporting, partly in consequence of gifts received mJn^? 
from the king, or his subjects, and partly as the result *^^^^^- 
of the labours of the monks. 

One of the ways by which the early missionaries 
sought to provide for the sustenance and expansion 
of their work was by endeavouring to establish as a 
general custom the payment of tithes by Christians. The pay- 
The custom of paying tithes for the support of theSs.^^ 
clergy or for the relief of the poor began to be estabhshed 
towards the end of the fourth century ahke in the 
East and the West, and was advocated by Chrysostom, 

^ See for example the missionary expeditions of Otto in Pomerania. 


Jerome, Augustine and others. The stress laid upon 
the obUgation to give tithes for the support of the 
ministers of the Christian Church raised many difficul- 
ties in the paths of some of the Christian missionaries.^ 
It is only fair to point out that the tithes were more 
often imposed on the initiative of chiefs or kings than 
as a direct result of the action of the missionaries. 
The sup- In Norway the endowments attached to heathen 
ciergy^in tcmplcs werc iu many cases transferred to the Christian 
Norway, ^hurchcs iuto which they had been transformed. A 
little later the income of the bishops was derived from 
the biskopsrede, which was a poll tax levied on every 
male in the diocese.^ In the reign of Sigurd Jorsal- 
farer {circ. 1111) the payment of tithes was introduced 
into Norway in accordance with a vow which Sigurd 
had made at Jerusalem. The tithes introduced pro- 
vided for the maintenance both of bishops and clergy. 
Nuns as The estabUshmcnt of nunneries in various countries 
at a comparatively early stage of the development of 
a Christian community helped to produce women of 
devoted and saintly character, but, if the social and 
political conditions had rendered it possible to try the 
experiment, and it had been possible to appeal to women 
on a large scale otherwise than through the agency of 
nuns, the status of women might have been indefinitely 
raised and the family life of the nations of Europe might 
have developed on more Christian hues than was actu- 

1 See remarks of Alcuin, p. 388, time he was to be maintained by the 
below. priest and his people. If the bishop 

2 It was provided that the bishop failed to visit any parish he forfeited 
must visit every parish in his diocese his claim to the biskopsrede from that 
and remain in it for at least three parish for a year, 
days once every year. During this 



ally the case. The most notable instance in the early 
history of Missions of a woman exercising an influence 
far outside the walls of a monastery is that of Hilda, st. mida. 
From the monastery for men and women at Whitby 
over which she presided five bishops " were taken." ^ 
Amongst the other women to whose religious influ- 
ence Bede bears testimony were Ebba the Head of the 
monastery of Coldingham,^ Elfled the Head of the 
monastery of Whitby .^ Ethelthryth abbess of Ely,^ 
and Queen Eanfled.^ 

Of the written materials of which the missionaries made Mission- 
use, we know comparatively little. A few specimens of chLms!^' 
questions to be answered by catechumens prior to their 
baptism have been preserved, and frequent references 
occur to courses of instruction that were given to cate- 
chumens,^ but no catechisms, or text-books similar 
to those used in the Mission-field to-day have been 
preserved. The number of those who could read was so 
small and of those who could do so the proportion who 
could read Latin or Greek was so considerable that the 
Bible and liturgy were not translated into the other 
European languages for a long time. The most striking 
exception was the translation of the Bible into Gothic Reverence 
by Ulfilas the Apostle of the Goths. The high value ^^^i^" 
which the Christian converts before the time of Con- ^"""^'P" 


1 Bede, Hist. iv. 23. the request of a deacon of Carthage, 

^ iv. 25. contains a longer and a shorter 

^ iv. 26. mode of catechizing and instructing 

* iv. 19. heathen who were willing to be taught 

^ iii- 24. the Christian faith. Concerning the 

® For the emphasis laid upon the baptism of King Cynegils (see p. 137) 

need of such systematic instruction see Bede writes: "cum rex ipse cate- 

Alcuin, Ep. 28 : Augustine, de cate- chizatus fonte baptismi cum sua 

chizandisrvdibus,s.52. This treatise, gente ablueretur," iii. 7. 

which was written by Augustine at 


stantine set upon the Holy Scriptures is evidenced by 
the wilHngness which many of them displayed during 
the Diocletian persecution to die rather than to give 
up the copies that they possessed. Their reverence 
for the Bible did not, however, prevent them from 
recognizing that the gift of inspiration was not merely 
a gift conferred upon men in the past, but was a power 
that was continually being renewed to Christians from 
age to age. Thus we read in the Passion of St. Philip 
of Heraclea (in Thrace) that when during the Dio- 
cletian persecution Hermes was threatened with torture 
he said : " Though thou shouldst take at our hand all 
our writings, dread inquisitor, so that there should 
appear no traces at all of this true tradition anywhere 
in the whole world, yet our descendants, taking thought 
for the memory of their fathers and for their own souls, 
will compose and write greater volumes, and will teach 
' yet more strenuously the fear that we ought to pay to 
Lack of In studying the later development of Christian 
kToiris"- Missions in Europe we are again and again confronted 
tianiitera- ^^j^ accouuts of pagan reactions and with evidences 
that tend to show that the teaching given to the first 
converts was superficial and transient in its effects. 
The explanation is often to be found in the fact that 
the missionaries had not mastered the language of 
the peoples to whom they endeavoured to appeal, and 
had failed to create any kind of vernacular Christian 

It excites our astonishment to read of Otto baptizing 
7000 converts at Pyritz after a week's instruction in 
the Christian faith, but when we read that even this 


instruction was given through an interpreter, we are 
not surprised to learn that no permanent Church was 
estabhshed in Pomerania as the result of his labours. 
The comparative failure of the mission of St. Augustine 
is partly to be explained by the recourse which, in his 
first interview with Ethelbert and in his subsequent 
work, he was compelled to have to interpreters. In 
the case of Ulfilas and later on of Boniface, we have 
striking illustrations of the permanent results that 
followed the teaching of missionaries who could speak 
to the people in their own tongue.^ The difficulty 
of the task which the missionaries, who worked for the Vemacu- 
conversion of Europe, essayed was increased by the}ation?of 
almost complete absence of vernacular translations *^^ ^'^^^• 
of the Scriptures and liturgies. In this respect there 
was a marked difference between the practice of the 
Churches of the East and West. Ulfilas in Moesia, and Transia- 
Cyril and Methodius in Moravia, produced translations thTEL^st 
of the Bible and the liturgy, and the translations ^^^^^^3^ 
of the latter were used by the missionaries who 
helped to form the Russian Church. In the further 
East the Bible was translated into Syriac, Coptic, 
Armenian and Georgian. In the West missionaries 
were everywhere discouraged from translating into any 
vernacular language and were encouraged to use the 
Latin Bible and a Latin liturgy. The contrast between 
the two pohcies is illustrated by what happened in 
Moravia where Methodius, who came from Constanti- 
nople, extracted from Pope John VIII his reluctant 
consent to the continuation of the use of a liturgy 

^ " It was not tillthe rise of a priest- England received true Christian 
hood of Anglo-Saxon birth under instruction." — Milman, vi. 530. 
Wilfrid, or during his time, that 


in the Slavonic language, a consent which was with- 
drawn by a later Pope, Gregory VII. 
The ex- Dean Stanley writes : " In every country converted 
usToTthe by the Latin Church the Scriptures and the liturgy 
Latin j^gj^^ i^^gj^ introduced, not in the vernacular language 

language. ' i • i • t 

of the original or conquered population, but m the 
language of the government or missionaries, the 
Latin language of the old Empire or new Church of 
Rome. Our own sense and experience are sufficient 
to tell us what a formidable obstacle must have been 
created by this single cause to the mutual and general 
understanding of the new faith ; what barriers between 
the conquerors and conquered, between the educated 
and the vulgar, above all, between the clergy and the 
laity. The ill effects of the tardy translation of our 
own Bible and Prayer-book into Irish amply indicate 
the probable results. In the Eastern Church on the 
other hand a contrary method was everywhere followed. 
The same principle which had led Jerome in his cell 
at Bethlehem to translate the Bible into what was then 
the one known language of the West, was adopted 
by the Oriental Church with regard to all the nations 
that came within its sphere." ^ As far as concerns 
Early translations of the Bible or the production of Chris- 
Sansk- tian vernacular literature more was accompUshed in 
tions. England than in most of the other countries of Europe 
which were influenced by the Church of Rome. Bishop 
Aldhelm produced the first Saxon Psalter, Bede trans- 
lated the Gospel of St. John and possibly other portions 
of the Scriptures, King Alfred translated some of the 
Psalms, and Caedmon (d. circ. 680) wrote a metrical 

1 Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church, pp. 297 f . 


paraphrase of the Bible history which exerted a wide 
influence upon his fellow-countrymen. On the con- 
tinent the translations or vernacular paraphrases of 
the Bible were few and far between. A poem called The 
the " Heliand " was composed in the dialect of Lower aniT' in 
Saxony, at the request of the Emperor Louis the Pious, ^*^*^^y* 
the author of which is believed to have lived in 
Westphalia during the ninth century. It is written in 
alliterative verse, and the part which has survived 
sets forth the life of Christ as described by the four 
Evangelists. Its circulation helped to consolidate the 
missionary work which had been accomplished amongst 
the Saxons. 

Another poem entitled " Krist " and composed in Ger- other 
man by Otfried a monk of Weissenburg, about 40 years poems!^^ 
later (868) , covers much the same ground. A fragment 
of Muspilli, a Bavarian poem of the ninth century on 
the Last Judgment, shows traces of greater literary 
power. Its form is alliterative, and reminiscences of 
paganism are mingled with its Christian ideas. In 
the eleventh century a German paraphrase of the 
Psalms was written by Notker Labro, a monk at St. 
Gall, and a German translation and exposition of 
Solomon's Song by Williram of Bamberg. Fragments 
of an old German version of St. Matthew and of a Gospel 
harmony by Ammianus exist in Vienna. The Psalms 
also were translated into the Low German dialect.^ 
Apparently no attempt was made to produce a French French 
Bible till 1294 when a modified form of the Historia Ss.^" 
Scholastica by Peter Comestor, issued about 1190, was 

1 See Neander, vi. 177 : Hard wick, Ages, 208. 
Hist, of the Christian Ch. in the Middle 


produced. This contained an abstract of sacred history 
including many absurd interpolations and glosses. 
After the writings of David of Dinanto had been con- 
demned at a synod held in Paris in 1209 all theological 
works in the French language were burnt and forbid- 
den. A Canon passed at the Council of Toulouse, held 
in 1229, rigorously condemns the use of vernacular 
translations.^ In the Middle Ages it often happened 
that the only information in regard to the contents of 
the Bible which was given to the common people was 
ReUgious embodied in religious plays the influence exerted by 
P^^y^- which was of a very mixed character. Missionaries at 
Riga in 1204 made use of religious plays in the hope 
that " those who were not Christians might by means 
of sight learn to believe the rudiments of the Christian 
faith." 2 The earHest religious play in England, 
"Ludus S. Catharinae," was performed at Dunstable 
about 1100. 
Probation In vicw of the number of converts who afterwards 
dIteTfor relapsed into heathenism in the early centuries, it was 
baptism. f()ynd necessary to lengthen the time of testing and 
preparation prior to baptism. The Council of Elvira 
at the beginning of the fourth century ordered that 
candidates for baptism should have a two years' pro- 
bation before being baptized.^ The ApostoUcal Con- 
stitutions enact that catechumens are to be kept under 
instruction for three years, but direct that if men were 
very diligent and zealous they might be admitted 

1 Canon xiv. ' ' Ne prsemissos libros ^ " Eos qui ad fidem primam credu- 
habeant in vulgari translates, artis- litatis accedunt, si bonse fuerint con- 
sime inhibemus." versationis, intra biennium placuit 

2 "Ut fidei Christianae rudimenta ad baptismi gratiam admitti de- 
gentilitas fide etiam disceret oculata. ' ' bere. ' ' — Canon 42. 

See Neander, vii 51, 52. 


sooner, '' because behaviour, rather than length of 
time, must be taken as the criterioUc" ^ 

The Council of Agda in 506 fixed the time at eight 
months in the case of converts from Judaism, and gave 
as a ground for ordering so long a probation the reason, 
" because they are often found to be perfidious and to 
return to their own vomit again." ^ In many cases 
catechumens were instructed during the forty days of 
Lent, and were baptized on the Easter festival.^ 

Socrates ^ states that the bishop who baptized the 
Burgundians only spent eight days in instructing them, 
and many similar cases might be quoted. 

As a general rule no instruction was given to cate- 
chumens relating to the Holy Communion till after 
their baptism.^ 

The use of force as a means of spreading the Christian The use 
faith became more and more common as time passed, ^s a^mL 
Great Britain and Ireland are perhaps the only countries ^^^^^^^ 
in Europe in which the profession of Christianity was 
not at one time or another spread by the threat of per- 
secution and death, and Ireland appears to be the only 
country which has witnessed no Christian martyrdom. 
The worst instances of the use of compulsion are to be 
found in Prussia, Pomerania and Scandinavia. In the 
latter country King Hakon hastened the nominal accept- 
ance of the faith by burning to death those who re- 
fused to be converted, whilst in Prussia the '' Christian " 
Knights of the Sword ravaged the country for decades 

^ L. 8, c. 32, 6tl oi)x o xpo^os dX\' * vii. 30. 

6 Tpdwos KpiveTai. ^ For an account of the various 

* Canon 25. methods of instructing catechumens, 

® Cf, Jerome, E'p, ad Pammachum, see Bingham's Antiquities ^ x. 1, 6. 

chap. iv. Cyril, Catech. i. 5. 



[CHAP. I. 

of years with a view to the conversion of its inhabitants. 
Those who employed force for this purpose were un- 
fortunately able to quote the authority of some of 
the greatest teachers of the Church from the fourth 
century onwards. The first work in which forcible 
conversion was distinctly advocated was an appeal 
to Constantius and Constans to eradicate heathenism, 
written about 347 by Firmicus Maternus.^ St. 
Authority Augustiuc cxprcsscd his approval of the use of force 
tine, for the conversion of heretics,^ and it was natural to 
argue that if force could be efficacious for the recon- 
version of heretics, it would be equally efficacious and 
justifiable in the case of the heathen. In one of his 
letters he definitely expresses his approval of the capital 
punishment of pagans who offered sacrii&ces.^ 

Chrysostom approved of the destruction of idol 
temples, but disapproved of the employment of force 
in order to convert the heathen. Thus he writes, 
"It is not lawful for Christians to overthrow error 
by force and violence, but they should labour for 


^ Liber de errore profanarum 
religionum. See Migne, P. L. xii. 

2 Epp. 93, 185 and 139. See 
Harnack, Exp. of C. ii. p. 457. 

3 Ep. 93, chap. 2. He writes, 
' ' quis enim nostrum, quis vestrum non 
laudat leges ab imperatoribus datas 
contra sacrificia paganorum ? Et 
certe longe ibi poena severior con- 
stituta est : ilUus quippe impietatis 
capitale supplicium est." It is inter- 
esting to note that Augustine modified 
his opinion in regard to the employ- 
ment of coercion (compare Ep. ad Vin- 
centium 93, already quoted, and Ep. 
ad Bonifacium 185). The reasons in 
favour of coercion which he was led to 

advocate are (1) that the coercion 
of the Donatist heretics had proved 
effective, (2) that coercion could be 
justified by precedents and texts in 
the Old and New Testaments, and 
(3) that, as it is lawful to prevent a 
madman from injuring himself, so 
it was right to save men from eternal 
punishment even against their will. 
St. Augustine's advocacy of coercion 
went far towards determining the 
missionary policy of the representa- 
tives of the Church in the succeeding 
centuries. Lecky speaks of him as 
"the framer and representative of 
the system of intolerance " {Rational- 
ism, ii. 22). 


the conversion of men by persuasion, speech and 
gentleness." ^ 

St. Gregory, who sent Augustine to England, approved Gregory. 
the corporal punishment of the Barbaricans in Sardinia, 
the imposition of higher taxes upon pagans and the 
lowering of rents in the case of Jews who accepted 
baptism.2 He wrote : ''If they are not sincerely con- 
verted themselves, their children at least will be bsip- 
tized with better will." On the other hand protests protests 
against the use of force were from time to time uttered. ^ ^ ^^' 
Thus Hilary of Poitiers writes : "If such violence was 
employed to sustain the true faith, the wisdom of the 
bishops should oppose it ; they should say, ' God will 
not have a forced homage.' " ^ Again he writes, " Woe 
to the times when the divine faith stands in need of 
earthly power." * Martin of Tours strongly opposed Martin of 
the condemnation to death of the Priscillianists in Spain ^^^^' 
on account of their alleged heresy.^ It is not sur- 
prising that those whose fathers or forefathers had been 
converted to Christianity by the sword should have 
regarded it as a duty to employ the same means for 
the conversion of the Saracens, and that few were 
found to protest against the policy of the Crusaders. 
One of those who protested was Raymond Lull, the Raymond 
famous missionary to Moslems in North Africa (d. 1315), ^ ' 
who wrote : '^ They think they can conquer by force 
of arms : it seems to me that the victory can be won 
in no other way than as Thou, Lord Christ, didst 
seek to win it, by love and prayer and self-sacrifice." 

1 De 8. Babyla, 3. c. 6. See Harnack, ii. p. 459. 

2 ii. 138, etc. * Contra Auxentium, ii. 4. 
^ "Non requirit coactam confes- ^ Harnack, ii. 457. 

sionem." Ep. ad Constantium, lib. i. 


Later on, in the 16th century the Spanish missionary 

LasCasas. Las Casas, who earned the title of the "Apostle of 

Mexico," urged, in contravention to the methods 

adopted by his fellow-countrymen, that men ought to 

be converted only by persuasion, and that it was not 

lawful for Christians to carry on war against infidels 

merely on the ground that they were infidels. 

Use of Theodosius who succeeded to the throne in 379 was 

Theo- ^ the first to initiate the forcible extermination of 

391!"^^' paganism and the conversion of the Empire to nominal 

Christianity. In 391 he issued an edict prohibiting 

anyone from offering a sacrifice or even from entering 

a pagan temple and in the following year sacrifices were 

prohibited under pain of death and all other acts of 

idolatry under pain of forfeiture of the house or 

land in which the idolatrous act might have been 


The questions raised by the employment of force as 

a missionary agency will confront us again and again, 

as we pass from land to land. In estimating the degree 

of moral responsibility that attaches to those by whom 

such force was employed we shall be reminded of Cicero's 

saying that the blame for wrongdoing must often be 

attributed not so much to the individual as to the age 

in which the individual lives.^ 

Growth of It must also be borne in mind that the spirit of 

kitoier- intolerance, which so often characterized the dealings 

ance. ^£ Christians with non- Christians during the early 

Middle Ages, was a natural consequence of the bitter 

persecutions to which the Christians had themselves 

^ Codex Theodosii, xvi. 10. 7, 11, ^ "Non vitia hominis, sed vitia 

12. sseculi." 


been subjected at a still earlier period.^ Thus Dr. 
Hodgkin writes : " The persecutions came and went, 
and they changed, though they should not have changed, 
the temper of the Christian champions. So was ren- 
dered possible that utterance of Tertullian (destined 
to an evil immortality) in which he consoled his brethren 
for their conscientious abstinence from the pleasures 
of the Hippodrome by promising them far greater 
spectacular pleasures in the life to come, when from 
the safe security of heaven they should behold so many 
proud prefects, so many jeering philosophers, writhing 
in agony under the tortures of the never-dying fires 
of hell. ... It was not in human nature (though it 
should have been in the divine that intermingled with 
it) to see parents, brothers, sisters, dragged off to an 
insulting and cruel death for refusing to sacrifice to 
the genius of the Emperor, without some scowl of hatred 
becoming fixed above the eyes which witnessed these 
things. . . . And so persecution did not, as was once 
alleged, always and entirely fail of its end. ' The 
blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church ; ' 
but it was a Church of different habit of growth, and 
producing more acrid fruit than that which it replaced." ^ 

The conditions under which missionary work was Deterioia- 
carried on after the accession of Constantine differed chSstian 
largely from those which had previously prevailed. afte?3i2. 
If the conversion of Constantine marks an epoch in 
the consolidation of the Church's authority and organi- 
zation, it marks no corresponding epoch in the expansion 

^ The views of Tertullian and other study of Jewish apocalyptic litera- 

early Christians in regard to the ture. 

future punishment of their enemies 2 Italy and her Invaders^ ii. 649. 
may have been in part inspired by a 


of Christian Missions, nor is the cause far to seek. 
The deterioration of Christian society subsequent to 
312 must indeed have gone far towards checking 
missionary enterprise and towards rendering any cor- 
porate action well-nigh impossible. Salvian of Mar- 
seilles, who wrote about 440, bewails the change which 
had come over the Christians. " How different," 
he says, " is the Christian people now from itself, 
that is from what it once was . . . What is almost 
any gathering of Christians but a foul collection of 
vices ? " 1 
Compro- In tracing the introduction and development of 
^ganSm. Christianity and the Christian Church in different 
lands we shall frequently have occasion to allude to 
the compromises which were made by Christian mission- 
aries in order to break down the opposition of the 
heathen to the acceptance of Christian teaching. The 
compromises that were effected with this object in view 
were seldom productive of satisfactory results, and in 
some cases the disastrous effects to which they gave 
rise continued for many generations. 

The Roman Catholic missionaries who preached in 
Western India in the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- 
turies were content to make a compromise with Hindu- 
ism and to adopt a large number of idolatrous customs 
and usages, with the result that in some districts there 
is little to choose to-day between the moral characters 

1 " Quam dissimilis est nunc a se more abject in the annals of cruelty 

ipso populus Christianus, id est, ab and corruption than the Roman 

eo quod fuit quondam ! . . . Quid empire from Augustus to Diocletian, 

est aliud psene omnis coetus Christi- there is something more surprising 

anorum quam sentina vitiorum " ? and sadder still, the Roman empire 

De guhernatione Dei, vi. Mont- after it became Christian ! " — Monks 

alembert writes, " If there is nothing of the West, i. 252. 


of their Christian descendants and those of the Hindus 
in the same districts. In acting thus they were imitating 
the practices of many earher missionaries who laboured 
amongst the heathen in Europe. Thus in 742 the 
Council of Ratisbon, over which Boniface presided, 
found it necessary to protest against the practices 
" which foolish men in the churches perform according 
to pagan rites in the name of saints, martyrs or 
confessors." ^ 

The conversion of large numbers of people who had Their 
received comparatively little instruction in their new^^^e^^ 
faith and who retained the beliefs that they had in- Church ^ 
herited from their ancestors tended to exert an influence 
upon the whole Christian Church. Thus Professor 
Lecky writes : "' Vast tribes of savages who had always 
been idolaters, who were perfectly incapable from their 
low state of civilisation of forming any but anthro- 
pomorphic conceptions of the Deity . . . and who 
for the most part were converted, not by individual 
persuasion, but by the commands of their chiefs, em- 
braced Christianity in such multitudes that their 
habits of mind soon became the dominating habits of 
the Church." 2 

The tendency of the Christian Church to provide 

^ See Haddan and Stubbs, iii. 385. et respuat, sive prof ana sacrificia 

The wording of the Canon (V) suggests mortuorum, sive sortilegos, vel 

that the combination of Christian and di vinos . . . sive hostias, immolati- 

pagan practices which existed in tias, quas stulti homines juxta 

North Germany closely resembled ecclesias ritu pagano faciunt, sub 

what is to be seen to in Western India nomine sanctorum martyruih vel 

to-day. The canon reads " De- confessorum . . . sive omnes quae- 

crevimus quoque ut . . . unusquis- cunque sunt paganorum observa- 

que episcopus . . . gerat . . . ut tiones diligenter prohibeant." 

populus Dei paganias non faciat, sed ^ Rationalism, vol. i. 238 f. 
omnes spurcitias gentilitatis abjiciat 



Eiabora- a more and more elaborate ceremonial rendered it 

Christian ^^sj for those accustomed to the ceremonial connected 

with pagan temples and festivals to enrol themselves 

as Christians. Gibbon has remarked that whilst the 

devotion of a philosopher can be sustained by prayer, 

study and meditation, the religious sentiments of the 

people can only be maintained by public worship.^ 

Attitude In one important respect the method adopted by 

sionan'es ^^^ early missionaries differed from that adopted by 

towards those in more recent days. The supernatural powers 

iieatnen ^ . « 

supersti- claimed by the priests or other representatives oi pag- 
anism were as a rule accepted as genuine by the early 
missionaries who ascribed them to the help and in- 
spiration of demons. They did not deny or attempt 
to explain them away as the missionary imbued with 
modern scientific knowledge would do to-day. The 
remarks of Bishop Dowden with reference to the life 
and times of Columba apply to many other early 
missionaries. '' There is no escaping the conclusion," 
he writes, " that the Celtic missionaries and the Fathers 
of the Celtic Church were themselves unhesitating 
believers in what would in our time be regarded as 
puerile superstitions. But we may well believe that 
in the providence of God such a nearness of intellectual 
level between teacher and taught materially assisted 
their evangelistic labours. And we are instructed in 
the lesson which we shall again and again have to bear 
in mind, that a great body of baseless superstitions 
may be held compatibly with large measures of divine 
truth, with the most sincere piety, and with high in- 
tellectual ability and acumen." ^ 

1 D. and F. of the R. E. chap. 28. ^ The Celtic Church in Scotland, p. 101. 


The attitude of the missionaries towards heathen 
reUgious and social customs varied in different lands. 
Gregory's letter to Mellitus and the code drawn up by 
Olaf and Bishop Grimkell in Norway afford instances 
of the liberal tendency to continue, in the hope of 
transforming, heathen observances. The action of 
Bishop Otto in Pomerania, who urged that the thorns 
and thistles must be eradicated before the Christian 
grain could be sown, affords an illustration of a different 

tn order to understand the rival influences that Two mis- 
existed at the time when Christian missionary work ^eii^^ns. 
was first carried on we must make a brief reference 
to the two other reUgions which possessed a missionary 
character during the earUest centuries of the Christian 
Era, viz. the worship of Isis and the worship of Mithra. 
The worship of the Egyptian goddess Isis who mourned The 
over the death of her husband Osiris whom his brother JEi's!^ 
Typhon had murdered, had become known in every 
part of the Empire by the end of the second century .^ 
" Like wildfire," says Dr. Bigg, " far more rapidly 
than Christianity, this ambiguous cult overran the 
world. . . . Isis- worship was a sort of savage counter- 
part of Christianity, deeply tainted, alas, by magic, 
better able to arouse the feelings than to chasten them, 
yet, in its wild Egyptian way, a gospel of suffering, a 
shadow of better things to come." 2 For the better 
educated among its adherents its polytheistic and 

1 A temple of Isis and Serapis was bearing the figure of her companion 

founded in the Campus Martius at the dog-headed Anubis has been 

Rome in 42 b.c. (Dion Cassius, xlvii. found in a grave in the Isle of Man. 
15). Several traces of Isis-worship 2 The Church' s task under the Roman 

have been found in Britain. A ring Empire, 1905, pp. 40, 45. 


immoral teaching was refined into pantheism and 
mystery. Thus the inscription round the statue of 
Isis at Sais read, '' I am all that is, or has been, or shall 
be, and no mortal hath ever lifted my veil." ^ 
Osiris. Osiris, who was originally worshipped as the god of 

the setting sun, was regarded as the god of the under- 
world into which all men must pass, and in virtue of 
the fact that he had suffered a cruel death and yet 
remained spiritually alive he was looked upon as one 
who could sympathize with and help men in the hour 
of death, 
i^i^h- The second rehgion with which the early Christian 

raism. missionaries were brought into frequent contact was 
the Mithraic sun-worship which was introduced into 
Europe from Persia and which began to spread through- 
out the West a little later than did the worship of Isis.^ 
By the middle of the third century it had made such 
progress that it seemed possible that it might displace 
Christianity and become the rehgion of the whole 
Roman Empire. Dr. Bigg has described the religion 
of Mithra as "the purest and most elevated of all 
The date nou-Biblical religions."^ It seems probable that we 
ma^ w^ have borrowed from Mithraism the words used to 
rowed designate the days of our week^ and the date of our 
Mith- Christmas festival. In regard to the latter M. Cumont 
thinks that when the Christians in the fourth century 

1 Plutarch, de Iside et Osiride, relatifs aux mysteres de Mithra, par 
9^ M. Cumont, Bruxelles, 1896. 

2 The worship of Mithra was first ^ Neoplaionism, p. 56. It ought, 
introduced into Rome by Pompey in however, to be added that the more 
70 B.C. (Plut. Pomp. c. 24). The chief spiritual side of Mithra worship was 
modern authority for all available not developed till after it had come 
information in regard to the worship into contact with Christianity, 
of Mithra is Texies et monuments * Cumont, i. 299. 



instituted the observance of Christmas they selected 
December 25, the Mithraic " natahs invicti," in order 
to displace the worship of Mithra on this day.^ The 
missionaries by whom the worship of Mithra was 
chiefly spread were the soldiers in the Roman army. 
In some instances legions which had been quartered 
in the East on being moved to some of the western 
provinces carried with them the worship which they 
had adopted.^ It was also spread by traders and by 
the many slaves who were captured in the East and 
sold in the West. 

Mithra was a Persian deity and is usually portrayed xMithra a 
as a young man representing Victory and engaged in deity. 
slaying a bull, the slaying of the bull being emblematic 
of life secured through death. On either side of him 
stand his attendants Cautes and Cautopates, the one 
holding a torch erect, the symbol of life, and the other 
holding a torch reversed, the symbol of death. As 
a god he was regarded as the giver of light and man's 
strong helper against Ahriman, the spirit of evil. When 
we consider how widespread was his worship it is sur- 
prising how little we know concerning the religious 
teaching connected with this cult. Like the Isis- 
worship, it was largely tinged with pantheism. '' We Mithraic 
read of seven grades of initiation, the three lowest did an^drSfai 
not admit to the mysteries, and correspond roughly 

1 Cumont, i. 342. See also Chris- This was apparently used by soldiers 
tian Worship, its Origin and Evo- in 252 ; see Corpus Inscriptionum 
lution, by Duchesne. Eng. ed. p. Latinarum, ed. by Hiibner, vii. 646. 
261. An altar preserved at Caerleon in 

2 A grotto containing six altars Wales and dedicated to Mithra was 
connected with the worship of Mithra probably erected about 200. Id. 
has been found at Housesteads p. 1039. 

(Borcovicus) on the wall of Hadrian. 


to the catechumenate ; . . . the highest class of all 
was that of the Fathers. . . . There was a body of 
priests headed by a chief priest, and there were com- 
panies of ascetics and of virgins. There was an authori- 
tative moral teaching which is spoken of as ' the 
commandments.' ^ Among the rites of initiation was 
a baptism in water,^ a brand, the use of honey and 
anointing, and there was a sort of Agape in commemo- 
ration of the banquet of Mithra and the Sun, in which 
the worshippers partook of bread, water and wine. 
The resurrection of the body was taught and the faithful 
were not cremated but interred." ^ St. Augustine 
and some others amongst the early Christian teachers 
regarded the resemblance of the rites and teaching of 
Mithraism and of other religions to those of Christi- 
anity as a proof that the former were invented by the 
devil for the purpose of deceiving the unwary.* 
Religious Although the power to redeem the world re- 
oithe mained a possession of the Christian Church, popular 
Chris- Christianity in the middle of the fourth century was 

tians. «^ »/ 

ill-fitted to act as a missionary agency. Thus Milman, 
referring to the time of the accession of Julian (361), 
writes, '' Christianity at no period could appear in a 
less amiable and attractive light to a mind preindisposed 
to its reception. It was in a state of universal, fierce 
and implacable discord : the chief cities of the Empire 
had run with bloodshed in religious quarrels. The 

^ The Churches Task under the R. panis oblationem, et imaginem re- 

Empire, Bigg, p. 54. surrectionis inducit." De Prcescrip. 

2 See Tertullian, de Baptismo, c. 5, Hceret. 40. 
"et sacris quibusdam per lavacrum ^ The Church's Task under the R. 

initiantur, Isidis alicujus et Mithrae." Empire, Bigg, p. 54. 
Again he writes, "Mithra signat illic * In Joh. Evang. tractatus, cap. 6. 

in frontibus milites suos, celebrat et Migne, P. L. xxxv. col. 1440. 


sole object of the conflicting parties seemed to be to 
confine to themselves the temporal and spiritual bless- 
ings of the faith ; to exclude as many as they might 
from that eternal life, and to anathematize to that 
eternal death, which were revealed by the gospel, and 
placed, according to the general belief, under the special 
authority of the clergy." ^ The heathen historian Am- 
mianus Marcellinus, writing about 380, declared that 
he had never known savage beasts that were as fierce 
as were the majority of Christians to each other .^ 

The social difficulties with which the early mission- Obstacles 
aries in Europe were confronted resembled those sprlad of 
which missionaries in the Far East have to meet to- ^^\ 
day, inasmuch as the old heathen cults, like the religions ^^® ^^^ 
of the Far East to-day, represented powerful social 
forces. Although the obstacle to the spread of Christi- 
anity presented by the Indian caste- system is greater 
than any which ever existed in Europe, never- 
theless before, and in some districts after, the time of 
Constantine to abandon the ancestral customs of show- 
ing honour to the gods was to become an outcaste 
from society. Again, the aid of philosophy was invoked 
then, as it is now, in order to justify the continuance 
of formal acts of rehgious worship in which the wor- 
shipper had long ceased to have a genuine belief. The Their 
arguments by which the Hindu who has taken his degree par^i 
at Oxford or Cambridge satisfies himself that it is his ^dtr^ 
duty to take part, and to encourage others to take part, 
in the worship of India's ancient gods are identical 
with those which Plutarch and his contemporaries used 

^ Milman, History of Christianity^ bestias ut sunt sibi ferales plerique 
iii. 54 f. Christianorum expertus." 

2 xxii. 5, "nullas infestas hominibus 



in the third or fourth centuries. Then, as now, an 
allegorical interpretation of gross practices and de- 
grading legends was evolved which to the initiated 
transformed their whole character and meaning. 
Conver- With vcry few exceptions the conversion of Europe 
ruierf re- ^^^ brought about by missionary influences that spread 
ceded that from the Upper and better educated to the lower and 
subjects, less educated classes. The principle enunciated by 
one of the Pomeranian Dukes during a missionary 
tour made by Bishop Otto in his country was generally 
recognized and acted upon. The Duke said : "It is 
for us who are the chiefs and men of importance to have 
regard to our dignity and to agree together in regard 
to this most deserving matter, so that the people who 
are subject to us may be instructed by our example. 
For whatever religion or virtue is to be attempted 
I say that it is more correct that it should pass from 
the head to the members than from the members to 
the head. In the primitive Church indeed, as we have 
heard, the Christian faith began with the common people 
and with individuals belonging to the common people, 
and spread to the middle classes, and then affected 
the chiefs of the world. Let us reverse the custom of 
the primitive Church so that the holiness of the divine 
reKgion, beginning with us who are chiefs and passing 
on to the middle classes by an easy progress, may en- 
lighten the whole people and race." ^ 
Its re- The principle enunciated by the Pomeranian Duke 

super'i^ was a plausible one, but the history of Missions in Europe 
ficiaiity. ^3^(j qI more recent Missions to the non-Christian races 
in other continents, tends to show that a rehgion which 

^ Vita Ottonis, by Herbordus, iii. 3. 


is recommended to a people by those who are possessed 
of poUtical authority is most Ukely to become super- 
ficial and to fail to secure their convinced assent. To 
adopt the Duke's illustration drawn from the relation 
of the head and limbs of a body, modern science has 
shown that the blood which is the carrier of the vital 
energy in the human body passes first from the body to 
the head and not from the head to the body. There is 
reason to believe that if the missionaries in the various 
European countries had been able to adopt the methods 
that were adopted by their earhest predecessors and 
which are followed by missionaries to-day, and had 
been able to make their appeal, in the first instance, to 
the common people and to build up a Christian Church 
without any adventitious help supplied by social or 
political influence, the conversion of Europe would have 
been less superficial than was actually the case. 

Although as a general rule in the earliest centuries The 
of the Christian era Christianity began by appealing to ci^rkdan 
the poorer and less educated classes there was never a ^^^^®^»- 
time or a country in which there were not also con- 
verts from the higher and better- educated classes. In 
confirmation of this assertion we may refer to Pliny's 
statement to Trajan (98-117), that those accused of 
being Christians included " many of every rank." ^ 
Further statements to the same effect might be adduced 
from almost every country in which a Christian com- 
munity came into existence in the early centuries. 

In reading the biographies of the more remarkable 
missionaries we are struck by the fact that even when 
these biographies were written by contemporaries, or 

^ "Multi omnis ordinis." 


Miracles by men who lived only a generation after the mis- 

to Sis^ ^ sionaries whose lives they record, they are for the most 

sionanes. ^^^^ fiUed with stories of miracles. Few who believe 

that these missionaries were inspired by God to do the 

work which they accomplished will be prepared to say 

that the miraculous occurrences which accompanied 

the delivery of their message are without exception 

inconceivable and impossible. Nevertheless, when we 

consider the unscientific character of the age in which 

these miracles were recorded and the impossibiKty 

of obtaining evidence that can satisfy the critical 

historian, we cannot assume the occurrence of a miracle 

in any single case.^ In many cases it is probable that 

a metaphorical expression used by a missionary in the 

first report of his experiences was, quite honestly, 

interpreted by a later biographer as implying the 

A miracle occurreuce of a physical miracle. We might point by 

butedto way of illustration to the miracle which Adamnan the 

Coiumba. biographer of Columba (who was born hardly more than 

a generation after his death) records as having taken 

place when Columba left lona to pay a visit to the Pictish 

king Brude. After stating that the king " elated by 

pride did not open the gates at the blessed man's 

arrival," he goes on to say, " when the man of God 

1 Bp. Gore writes, " There are . . . amount of contemporary evidence 

ages when belief is so utterly un- which is available in support of 

critical that it does seem as if they similar miracles said to have been 

could not under any circumstances wrought by heathen gods. For a 

afford us satisfactory evidence of list of such see Incubation or the Cure 

miraculous occurrences." Bampion of Disease in Pagan Temples and 

Lectures f p. 74. In trying to estimate Christian Churches, by M. Hamilton, 

the value of evidence available for the London, 1906, also AntiJce Wunder- 

miracles of healing said to have been geschichten, by P. Fiebig, 1909. In 

wrought by the early pioneer mission- the latter the original accounts are 

aries we do well to note the large in many cases quoted. 


knew this, he came with his companions to the wickets 
of the portals and first traced on them the sign of the 
Lord's Cross and then knocking, he lays his hand against 
the doors, and immediately the bolts are violently 
shot back, the doors open in all haste of their own accord, its sug- 
and being thus opened the saint thereupon enters with pianation. 
his companions . . . and from that day forth this 
ruler honoured the holy and venerable man with very 
great honour all the remaining days of his life." ^ 
It is not difficult to imagine that Columba, or one 
of his companions, in sending an account to their 
friends at lona of their first missionary journey on 
the mainland, stated in the words of St. Paul^ that 
whereas at first the way seemed closed against them 
God had marvellously opened a door of opportunity 
which no man would be able to close. A later writer 
on reading or hearing this report might, in all good 
faith, imagine that what actually occurred was what 
Adamnan has described. 

However little faith we may find it possible to repose Lessons to 
in the miraculous occurrences with which the lives of fro^^tTe 
many of the early missionaries abound, we cannot ^P^^^^j^^ 
afford to neglect these stories altogether. Bishop Dow- 
den, referring to the miracles recounted by the bio- 
grapher of Adamnan, writes : ''As illustrating the 
popular beliefs of his time, the stories related by Adam- 
nan, however incredible, are full of interest, and much 
more is to be learned from them than many modern 
writers, in their contemptuous impatience, have been 
ready to acknowledge. The stories reflect the re- 

^ ii. cap. XXXV. "a door was opened unto me in the 

2 Of. *' a great door and effectual Lord," 2 Cor. ii. 12. 
is opened unto me," 1 Cor. xvi. 9: 


ligious notions current in the writer's day, and so supply 
us with a most precious source of information as to a 
period of the history of rehgious thought in this country 
otherwise singularly obscure. ... It is not, I think, 
less interesting to know what men believed and what 
they thought, than what kind of dress they wore, what 
kind of houses they lived in, what weapons they carried, 
and what food they ate." ^ 
Christian There is no evidence to show that the Christian 
po ogles. ^p^jQgjgg ihsit were written before the time of Con- 
stantine were productive of any visible results from 
a missionary standpoint, or that pagans were converted 
by them. TertuUian lamented that no pagan would 
read any Christian writing.^ The missionary agency 
by which the Christian faith was spread during the 
early centuries was the lives and deaths of the Christians. 
The blood The truth of TertuUian's oft-quoted statement ^ that the 
tiansir blood of Christians is seed, was again and again exem- 
seed. phfied, and the more cruelly any given Church was 
persecuted the greater became its efficiency from a 
missionary standpoint. But if the martyrdoms of Chris- 
influence tians provided occasional impulses towards the expansion 
byTh^^sofof the Christian Church, their lives exerted a greater 
p.^^^^" and more continuous influence. It was as a result 


of witnessing the moral lives and the fearless deaths of 
the Christians that Justin Martyr ^ became a Christian, 
and no effective missionary work has ever been accom- 
plished which has not been supported by this argument. 
During the first three or four centuries after the 

^ The Celtic Church in Scotland, ^ "semen est sanguis Christian- 

p. 141 f. orum," Apol. 50. 

2 "ad nostras Htteras nemo venit * Apol. ii. 12. 
nisi jam Christ ianus," de Tesiim. i. 


Christian era the Church's missionary task was accom- and by 
pHshed not so much by the action of individuals or com^ ^^^ 
pioneer missionaries as by the steady attraction exer- ^^^^^i®^- 
cised by Christian communities. There are districts 
in India and in South Africa to-day where large numbers 
of persons have asked to be prepared for Christian 
baptism, having been moved to make their request by 
the knowledge and sight of the spiritual and material 
benefits that the new religion has brought to their 
fellow-countrymen. What is happening to-day in non- 
Christian lands happened on a large scale in the early 
centuries. Up to the time of Constantine there were 
few material benefits to be anticipated by those who 
desired to become members of a Christian community, 
but it was the loving sympathy displayed by the 
Christians towards each other and the high moral 
standard of their life that helped to commend their 
faith to others. 

The scene of Raymond Lull's missionary labours lay Methods 
outside Europe and his work does not therefore comemond*^ 
within the scope of our present enquiry,^ but some- " 
thing must be said in regard to the missionary methods 
the adoption of which by the Christian Church through- 
out Europe he sought to secure. He anticipated the 
teachings and methods of modern missionaries by his 
insistence that efforts for the evangelization of the 
world must be based upon a careful study and know- 
ledge of the languages and literature of the peoples 
whom it was sought to evangelize. In 1276 he founded 
at Miramar in Majorca a school for the teaching of Arabic 

^ For a brief account of his work iian Missions, by the Author, pp. 
in North Africa see History of Chris- 285 f,, 466 f. 


and geography. He further urged the University of 
Paris to endow chairs of Greek, Arabic and Tartar. He 
visited Rome three times, and Avignon once, in order 
to press upon the Pope the need of systematic Missions 
to Moslems, and he advocated the founding of monas- 
teries the special purpose of which should be to promote 
the study of languages with a missionary intent. 
His efforts If, howcvcr, he agreed with the modern missionaries 
convet^ in emphasizing the supreme importance of securing 
sionsby ^ sympathetic understanding of the life and thought 
argumen ^^ ^^^^^ whom he dcsircd to convert, he differed, alike 
from them and from his contemporaries, in beheving 
that their conversion could and would be effected by 
the employment of philosophical disputation. He 
himself wrote over two hundred massive Latin fohos 
on philosophy and theology, believing that their study 
would help to convert the Saracens. The history of 
Christian Missions in early mediaeval and modern times 
affords no support for Lull's contention that " com- 
placuit Deo in dialectica salvare hominem." At 
the same time we cannot but remember with gratitude 
and admiration the efforts which Lull made to put a 
stop to forcible conversions and to base the appeal 
to non-Christian races upon a sympathetic study of 
their own teachings, sealed as they were by his heroic 
life and death. In 1311 four years before his own death 
the Council of Vienne, moved apparently by Lull's ap- 
peal, decreed the estabHshment of professorships of 
oriental languages in various places of learning. 
Women It is interesting to note the appeal which Christian 
TZT Missions made to women and the influence exerted 
Church by women converts in the early Chin^ch. 


It would appear to be the case that in all countries 
in which the status of women has been a high one, the 
number of women converts and the influence which 
these converts have exerted have been great. 

In India and in other less civilized countries where 
the position of women is or has been relatively low the 
proportion of men converts has been large. During the 
early centuries of the Christian Era women converts 
attained considerable prominence. This was specially 
the case in the more civilized parts of the Roman 
Empire. In the Gospels we read of the ministering 
women who accompanied our Lord from place to place. 
According to a very early gloss which appears in Mar- 
cion's text and two Latin MSS. our Lord was charged 
by the Jews before Pilate with misleading women.^ 
St. Paul's directions to the Corinthian Christians in 
regard to the conduct and dress of women in church 
suggest that they formed an important part of the 
Christian community. In the last chapter of the Epistle 
to the Romans St. Paul sends greetings to fifteen women 
who were apparently of some standing in the Church.^ 

The second Epistle of St. John was addressed to a 
woman. Irenaeus also states that Marcus the pupil 
of Valentinus consecrated women as prophetesses and 
thereby led many astray in Gaul and that his followers 
deluded many women in the Rhone districts.^ The 
increasing restrictions which the Church placed upon 
the freedom of women to act as Christian teachers 
was in part due to its anxiety to oppose the spread of 

1 The gloss occurs in the text of occupied by Christian women in New 

St. Luke xxii. 2, airo(TTp€<}>ovTa rds Testament times see Harnack, Ex'p. of 

yvvaiKas Kal ra r^Kva. C. ii. 65-69. 

^ For a discussion of the position ^ i. 13-17. 


Gnosticism and Montanism, the followers of which 
assigned a prominent position to women. The many 
women who suffered as martyrs during the various 
persecutions did much to raise the ideals of Christian 
womanhood at the same time that they helped to 
commend the Christian faith to an ever-widening 
circle of the heathen. In PKny's letter to Trajan 
{circ. 103) mention is made of women who were called 
by their fellow- Christians ministrce (deaconesses). 

Until the rise of monasticism the influence exerted 

by Vomen in the service of the Church tended steadily 

to increase and mention is made of prominent Christian 

women in nearly all the writings dating from the second 

century. In the majority of cases the women referred 

to were resident in Asia or Africa. In Greece and Italy 

the proportion of influential women converts would 

appear to have been smaller. MarceUina the Carpo- 

cratian is said by Irenaeus ^ to have taught and to 

have led many astray in Rome. 

The Before proceeding to discuss the beginning of 

chrlsti''^ missionary work in the several countries of Europe, 

"^^l^y ^ it mav be well to refer to the four categories in which 

prior to J • • 1 • 1 

325. Harnack has suggested that the countries withm or ad- 
jacent to the Roman Empire might be placed in the 
third decade of the fourth century. At the time to which 
Harnack's these Categories refer, the total Christian population 
gorLr*'" ^* ^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^ ^^""^^ 4,000,000 of whom less than 
half would have been resident in Europe. Harnack 
reckons that about the year 312 there were from 800 
to 900 bishoprics in the Eastern portion of the Roman 
Empire and from 600 to 700 in the western portion. 

^ Iren. i. 25, "multos extermina vit. " 


"1. Those in which Christianity numbered nearly 
one-half of the population and represented the most 
widely spread, or even the standard, rehgion. 

" 2. Those in which Christianity formed a very im- 
portant section of the population, influencing the lead- 
ing classes and the general civilization of the people, 
and being capable of holding its own with other religions. 

" 3. Those in which Christianity was thinly scattered. 

" 4. Those in which the spread of Christianity was 
extremely slender, or where it was hardly to be found 
at all." 1 

Under 1. he places " the region of Thrace opposite 
Bithynia " and the island of Cyprus. Under 2. are 
placed Rome, Lower Italy and the coastal districts of 
Middle Italy. The Christian population, he writes, 
'' would be denser wherever Greeks formed an appre- 
ciable percentage of the inhabitants, i.e. in the maritime 
towns of Lower Italy and Sicily, although the Latin- 
speaking population would still remain for the most 
part pagan." Under the same category are placed 
Spain, the maritime parts of Achaia, Thessaly, Mace- 
donia, the Mediterranean islands and the southern 
coast of Gaul. Under 3. come the interior of Achaia, 
Macedonia and Thessaly, together with Epirus, Dar- 
dania, Dalmatia, Moesia and Pannonia, the north- 
ern districts of Middle Italy and the eastern region of 
Upper Italy. Under 4. come Western Upper Italy, 
Middle and Upper Gaul, Belgica, Germany, Rhaetia 
and the north and north-west coasts of the Black 

^ Exp. of G. ii. 327. ture to pronounce any opinion at all 

^ Harnack writes, "I do not ven- on Britain and Noricum." 



In a volume that deals with the work of Christian 
missionaries in the various countries of Europe Ireland 
may claim to engage the early attention of the reader, 
and this for two reasons. A first ground of claim 
Ireland is fumishcd by the missionary activities of its own 
trakiing- SOUS. There is no country which in proportion to the 
for mfe- extent of its population sent out so many of its sons 
sionaries. to scrvc as missionaries in other European countries. 
We shall have occasion to note later on that there is 
hardly any large district in northern or central Europe 
which did not share in the spiritual benefits that mis- 
sionaries from Ireland poured forth with a lavish hand 
and during a long series of years. In the second place, 
Ireland has a unique interest from a missionary stand- 
point because it is the only country in Europe that can 
No claim no Christian martyrs. The Christian faith, by 

mtrtyS'in whomsocver introduced, was gradually accepted without 
Ireland. ^^^ outbreak of intolerance leading to the death of a 
missionary or of other Christians. What little we know 
of the development of Christianity in Ireland affords a 
pleasing contrast to the story of the violent and forcible 
conversions which took place in other lands. 

Yet another reason for assigning an early and im- 
portant place to the evangelization of Ireland is afforded 



by the character of the missionary to whom its conver- 
sion was chiefly due. 

The work accompUshed by St. Patrick is wrapt in an 
obscurity that we can never hope to remove, but what 
we know of him and his work compels us to assign 
him a place second to none in the long roll of missionaries 
to whom, after the time of St. Paul, the conversion of 
Europe was due. We fortunately possess at least two 
writings which can with reasonable certainty be ascribed 
to him and which, whilst they throw little light upon 
his missionary labours, nevertheless help us to under- 
stand and appreciate the personal character of Ireland's 
missionary saint. 

Of the actual beginnings of Christianity in Ireland introduc 
we know nothing. We know that at some period christl 
prior to 431 a.d. the Christian faith was preached '^^^^y* 
and that a certain number of converts were obtained, 
but when and where and by what agency Christianity 
was first introduced we shall probably never know. 

The large number of Roman coins, dating back to Roman 
the first century of the Christian era, that have beenirXnd. 
found in Ireland tends to show that even in the first 
century of our era it was not entirely isolated from 
the continent of Europe, and suggests the possibility 
that a knowledge of Christianity was introduced by 
visitors or traders from Italy .^ References occur to a Irish 
certain number of Irish bishops, or saints, on the on the^ 
continent, who lived before the time of St. Patrick, l^^^^^ 
but it is probable that these were converted to the Chris- 
tian faith after leaving Ireland, Thus St. Mansuetus 

^ In 1831 200 Roman coins were of bodies have been found near Bray 
found at the Giant's Causeway dating Head each with a copper coin of 
from 70 a.d. to 160 a.d. A number Trajan or Hadrian laid on his breast. 


the first bis^hop of Toul^ and St. Beatus the first bishop 
of Lausanne, both of whom Hved in the fourth century, 
were probably Irish. The poet SeduKus who flourished 
in Italy in the fifth century was perhaps an Irishman. 
Visit of The first historical statement with reference to 
PaUadius. Qj^j.-g^i3^j^ Missious in Ireland that has survived is that 
made by Prosper of Aquitaine in 431 a.d. He states 
that PaUadius, having been ordained as the first Bishop, 
was sent by Pope Celestine to the Scots {i.e. Irish) who 
believed in Chris t.^ According to a tradition which 
was not, however, embodied in writing till several 
centuries later, PaUadius founded three churches, and 
having crossed to Scotland during the year foUowing 
his arrival in Ireland died shortly afterwards.^ This 
statement of Prosper makes it clear that Celestine was 
moved to send PaUadius to Ireland by the knowledge 
that there were Christians there who needed a bishop 
to minister to them, but of the extent or previous 
history of this Christian community we know nothing. 
Nor can we even claim to emerge into dayUght when 
Ireland's wc pass ou to the story of Ireland's patron saint. His 
satnT very existence has indeed been a matter of dispute.^ 

1 See below, p. 175. in North Ireland who were the objects 

2 Prosper Chronicon. s.a. 431 "ad of his concern." Life of St. Patrick, 
Scottos in Chri*tum credentes ordina- pp. 54 f . See below, p. 70 f . 

tus a papa Celestino PaUadius primus * Amongst those who have denied 

episcopus mittitur." See Migne P.L. or seriously doubted his existence are 

Lj Plummer, the Editor of Bede's works 

3 Prof. Bury writes with regard to {cf. vol. ii. p. 25), and Prof. Zimmer 
the visit of PaUadius to Scotland, in Germany. The latter identified 
•'We may be tempted to suspect that him with PaUadius. See Liber Ar- 
the expedition of PaUadius to the machanus, ed. by Gwynn, p. xcvii. 
country of the Picts was not an No reference to Patrick occurs in 
abandonment of Ireland and that Bede's History though a reference is 
it was not the Picts of North Britain, made to him in Bede's Martyrology at 
but some Christian communities ex- March 17. This martyrology has, ho w- 
isting among the Picts of Dalaradia ever, been interpolated by later writers. 


But though on this point there can be no reasonable 
doubt, we are left in complete uncertainty concerning 
the length of time which he spent and the extent of 
his missionary labours in Ireland. We are fortunate 
to possess two works written by Patrick himself from 
which we can learn a little in regard to his history and 
still more in regard to his personal character and the 
motives by which his missionary labours were inspired. 
These writings are his Confession and a letter, of some St. Pat- 
length, addressed by him to the subjects of a king wdtkigs"!^ 
named Coroticus. He was apparently the ruler of 
Strathclyde in North Britain, and having made a raid 
upon the coast of Ireland, had carried away as captives 
some Christians who had recently been baptized. To 
these authentic writings, which are written in Latin, 
may perhaps be added the Lorica, a hymn written in 
Irish by Patrick, and a hymn written in Latin by 
Sechnall (Secundinus) a coadjutor of Patrick. The 
earliest extant lives of Patrick, which were written by Lives of 
Muirchu and Tirechan,i were composed in the latter fio^^^' 
half of the seventh century, whilst the longer and 
more complete record known as the Tripartite life^ 
was probably composed in the eleventh century. 

The biographical details which we can obtain from Bio- 
his own writings and on which alone we can rely with dctails?^^ 
any confidence are as follows : — His father Calpornius, 
who was a Roman decurio, was in deacon's orders and 
his grandfather Potitus was a priest. His father owned 

^ According to Zimmer the coUec- apparatus by Dr. Whitley Stokes and 

tions of Tirechan and Muirchu ought published in 2 vols, in the Rolls 

not to be dated earlier than the first series, 1887. The Vita Tripartita is 

half of the ninth century. written in Irish but is largely inter- 

2 Edited with notes and critical spersed with Latin. 


a small farm near a village called Bannaven Taberniae.^ 
In his sixteenth year ^ he was carried captive with several 
others to Ireland and for six years was employed by 
his master in herding swine.^ Before he was carried 
captive he had thought little about religion, but in 
his trouble he learned to pray. Thus he writes : " After 
I had come to Ireland I daily used to feed swine and I 
prayed frequently during the day ; the love of God 
and the fear of Him increased more and more, and 
faith became stronger, and the spirit was stirred, so 
that in one day I said about a hundred prayers and 
in the night nearly the same, so that I used even to 
remain in the woods and in the mountain, before day- 
light I used to rise to prayer, through snow, through 
frost, through rain, and felt no harm." 

The habit and power of prayer which he thus acquired 
when hardly more than a boy go far towards explaining 
the marvellous spiritual influence which he exerted in 
later life. In his Confession he refers to an offence 
that he had committed when he was fifteen years old 
which was brought up against him in later life. He 
writes : " I did not believe in the one God from my 
infancy but I remained in death and unbelief until I 
was severely chastised. . . . Before I was humbled I 
was like a stone lying in deep mud." It is hardly 
necessary to point out that these statements conflict 
with the later traditions which tell of the exceptional 

1 The locality of this village is un- man. See his references to the Irish 

certain. According to most critics it as 'barbarians.' Ep. to Goroticusc. 1. 

was near Dumbarton in Scotland. ^ The date of his birth according 

Prof. Bury however maintains that to Prof. Bury was 389 a.d. 

it was on the Bristol Channel. One ^ The G on fessionssiyspecor a {cstttle), 

of the few things certain in regard to but all the later authorities read sues 

Patrick is that he was not an Irish- (swine). 


piety of his early days. At the end of six years his 
longing to return to his native land was enhanced by 
a vision in which he heard a voice telling him that the 
ship in which he was to escape was waiting for him. 
He accordingly left his master and after a walk of 
about 200 miles reached a port. Part of the cargo His 
of the boat in which he sailed consisted of dogs,i ^nd l^^^^\, 
after three days at sea he reached land.^ On leaving 
the boat he and his companions, accompanied by 
their dogs, travelled for twenty-eight days through 
a desert, or a deserted country,^ where they suffered 
greatly from hunger. When food failed the leader of 
the party, a heathen, appealed to Patrick for help and 
said to him, " What is it, Christian ? Thou say est that 
thy God is great and almighty; why therefore canst 
not thou pray for us, for we are perishing with hunger." 
" I said to them plainly," writes Patrick, '' Turn with 
faith to the Lord my God, to whom nothing is im- 
possible, that He may send food this day for us in your 
path, even till you are satisfied, for it abounds every- 
where with Him." The appearance of a herd of swine, 
which immediately followed, was regarded by Patrick 
and his companions as an answer to his prayers. 
A statement to the effect that after many years he 
was taken captive once more, which is here abruptly 
inserted in his Confession, is apparently to be inter- 
preted as a reference to the spiritual compulsion which 
forced him to become a missionary to the land in which 
he had been a captive in his youth. Again " after a 
few years " but while still young (puer) he was at his 

1 Probably Irish wolf-hounds. on the coast of Gaul at Nantes or 

2 According to Prof. Bury he landed Bordeaux. * See below, p. 186. 


His re- home "in the Britains " where his parents^ begged 
Britain, him to remain. " There," he writes, '' I saw in the 
bosom of the night, a man coming as it were from 
Ireland, Victorious by name, with innumerable letters, 
and he gave one of them to me. And I read the begin- 
ning of the letter containing ' The voice of the Irish.' 
And while I was reading aloud the beginning of the 
letter, I myself thought indeed in my mind that I 
heard the voice of those who were near the wood of 
Foclut, which is close by the Western Sea. And they 
cried out thus as if with one voice, We entreat thee, 
holy youth, that thou come and henceforth walk 
among us.^ And I was deeply moved in heart and 
could read no further, and so I awoke." In yet another 
vision he heard a voice which said, " He who gave His 
life for thee is He who speaks in thee." Here unfortu- 
nately his own record abruptly ends. From the latter 
part of his Confession and his letter to Coroticus we 
can glean the following additional details. 

Before or after this vision he spent some time in 

Gaul in which country were some whom he had learned 

to regard as his brethren (fratres). When he was 

His work almost wom out^ he went (or returned) to Ireland as 

in Ireland. . . . , . 

a missionary, where, on twelve separate occasions, his 

1 By ' parentes,' we should probably he was a slave to Milchu at Mount 
understand ' kinsfolk.' Miss (Slemesh) in Dalaradia (Ulster). 

2 Rogamus te, sancte puer, ut If, however, with Prof. Stokes and 
venias et adhuc ambules inter nos. Dr. Wright we translate adhuc as 
Prof . Bury argues that the word a(?Awc * henceforth,' or, with Dr. N. J. D. 
implies that the neighbourhood of White, as 'hither,' or, again, with 
Foclut near the Western Sea had been Dr. Gwynn, as 'moreover,' there is 
the scene of Patrick's captivity, and nothing to show that the vision sum- 
on the strength of this statement he moned Patrick to return to the exact 
rejects as a later and incorrect tradi- scene of his former captivity. 

tion the generally accepted belief that ^ prope deficiebam. 


life was imperilled, and where, he says, it has " come 
to pass that they who never had any knowledge and 
until now have only worshipped idols and unclean 
things, have lately become a people of the Lord and are 
called the sons of God. Sons of the Scots and daugh- 
ters of chieftains are seen to be monks and virgins of 
Christ." Having been consecrated as a bishop (appa- 
rently in Gaul) he ordained clergy in many different 
places and baptized many thousands of men. The 
clergy whom he ordained included one whom he had 
taught from his infancy.^ Having come to Ireland 
as a missionary he felt " bound by the spirit " ^ not 
to see again any of his kindred. The success of his 
labours as a bishop roused the jealousy of some of 
his seniors, one of whom charged him, after thirty 
years, with the offence which he had confessed before 
he was ordained as a deacon and which had been 
committed when he was about fifteen years of age. 

By coming to Ireland he relinquished the advantages 
conferred on him by his noble birth,^ and suffered insults 
and persecutions from unbelievers, even unto chains, 
and was prepared to lay down his life most willingly 
on behalf of the name of Christ. On the twelve separate 
occasions on which his life was imperilled, " the most 
holy God " delivered him. Those to whom his Con- 
fession^ which was written in his old age,^ was addressed 
were " witnesses that the Gospel has been preached 
everywhere in places where there is no man beyond." 

The details given above are practically all that we 
can obtain from the study of Patrick's own writings. 

1 Ep. to Coroticus 2. ^ ingenuitas. 

^ id. 5. * in senectute mea. 


If, as seems almost certain, the Hymn of Sechnall was 

written by one who was a contemporary of Patrick, 

his statement that Christ chose Patrick to be His vicar 

on earth 1 may be regarded as evidence that Patrick 

went to Ireland believing himself to have received a 

direct command from God. There are many questions 

relating to his life and work to which we should like 

to have answers, but in those which are supplied by 

Doubtful the later biographies it is impossible to feel any con- 

mentsby fidence. We do not know, for example, whether 

graphers. Patrick laboured in Ireland as a missionary prior to 

his consecration as a bishop, how many years he spent 

i>id as a student in Gaulish monasteries, whether he ever 

visit visited Rome, or whether he received any communica- 

^^^ ' tion from the Bishop of Rome. 

In the Irish Canons attributed to Patrick, but the 
date of which Haddan and Stubbs place between 716 
and 777, the following reference to the Bishop of Rome 
occurs : — ' If any (difficult) questions arise in this 
island let them be referred to the apostolic See.' ^ 
The earliest existing evidence for a visit paid by Patrick 
to Italy is that contained in the first of the Dicta 
Patricii included in the Book of Armagh and which 
is regarded by Prof. Bury as almost certainly genuine. 
It reads : — " I had the fear of God as my guide in my 
journey through Gaul and Italy and in the districts 
that lie on the Tyrrhenian sea." ^ 

A strong reason for rejecting the later traditions 

^ Christiis ilium sibi elegit in terris ne7isis, 29, 5 b. 

vicarium, 1. 26. ^ Timorem Dei habui ducem itineris 

^ si quae (difficiles) questiones in hac mei per Gallias at que Italiam etiam 

insula oriantur ad sedem apostolicam in insolis qviae sunt in mari Tyrreno. 
referantur. CoUectio Ganonum Hiber- 


referring to a visit to Rome is that whereas Patrick's 
Confession^ which was written near the end of his 
Hfe, was written in part to vindicate against his oppo- 
nents his action in coming to Ireland at all, he never 
suggests, or hints, that this action had received the 
approval of the Pope. It is impossible to understand 
why he failed to adduce this justification, had he been 
in a position to do so. 

Two very different chronologies of his life have been Chrono- 
suggested by Irish scholars. That suggested by Dr. suf^sted 
Whitley Stokes, the Editor of the Tripartite Life o/^^^f^y 
S. Patrick, is as follows :—" It seems that Patrick stokes. 
returned to Ireland on or soon after his ordination as 
priest (say in 397 a.d.) and without any commission 
from Rome : that he laboured for 30 years in con- 
verting the pagan Irish, but met with little or no 
success : that he attributed this failure to the want 
of episcopal ordination and Roman authority : that 
in order to have these defects supplied he went back 
to Gaul (say in 427 a.d.) intending ultimately to proceed 
to Rome ; that he spent some time in study with 
Germanus of Auxerre ; that hearing of the failure and 
death of Palladius ... in 431 a.d. he was directed by 
Germanus to take at once the place of the deceased 
missionary ; that he thereupon relinquished his jour- 
ney to Rome, received episcopal consecration from a 
Gaulish bishop . . . and returned a second time to 
Ireland about the year 432 when he was 60 years 
old as a missionary from the Gaulish Church and 
supplied with Gaulish assistants and funds for his 
mission." ^ 

^ Tripartite Life of 8 . Patrick, vol. i. p. cxli. 


Chrono- The chronology suggested by Professor Bury which 
suggested differs in many important respects from the above, 
^/J^;"^- is briefly as follows :— 


389. Birth of Patrick. 
411— 12. Escape from his ship-companions. 
411-12 j 

to - At Lerins. 
414-15. I 

414-15. Returns to Britain. 
415-16. Goes to Auxerre. 
416-18. Is ordained by Amator. 

418. Death of Amator who is succeeded by Germanus. 
418-32. Patrick remains at Auxerre as deacon. 

429. Germanus goes to Britain to suppress the Pelagian 

431. Palladius consecrated bishop for Ireland. 

432. Patrick consecrated bishop by Germanus. 
441. Visit to Rome. 

461. Death of Patrick. 

Miracles The later biographies of Patrick abound in stories of 

to st.^ ^ the miracles which he was supposed to have worked, 

Patrick. ^^^ -^ ]^jg authentic works and in the hymn of Secundi- 

nus there is no trace of a claim to exercise miraculous 

powers. On the other incidents and details of his 

missionary labours in Ireland supplied by his biographies 

it is of little use to dwell, as the greater part of them 

do not rest on historical evidence that can be regarded 

as satisfactory. 

State- The outline of his travels and work in Ireland as 

Srechan givcu by Muirchu and Tirechan is briefly as follows. 

Xirchu According to the ]atter he first visited Meath and made 

a direct attack on paganism at Tara, where Loigaire 

the high king of Ireland ruled. Having defeated the 

Druids at the court, he induced the king to tolerate 


the preaching of Christianity, though he did not 
persuade him to accept baptism. According to Tirechan 
and Muirchu Patrick sailed north and landed in 
Strangford Lough. After having converted a chieftain 
named Dichu he visited Slemesh, where his former 
master Milchu (or MiKuc) still lived, intending to offer 
him money to reimburse him for the loss of his run- 
away slave and thus to conciliate him in favour of 
the Christian faith. Milchu, however, hearing of his 
approach and fearing hostile magic, burnt his own 
house and perished in the flames. Patrick then returned 
to Dichu and his first church was built at Saul (Irish 
sdbhall a barn) where Dichu had given him a barn 
in which to worship. 

He is said to have crossed the R. Shannon and to 
have visited Connaught three times. During his first 
tour he visited or, according to Prof. Bury, re- 
visited the mountain of Crochan Aigli, now Croagh 
Patrick, and spent there forty days and forty nights 
in prayer and fasting. His church and monastery 
at Armagh, which date from 444, were built on land 
given him for the purpose by Daire a king of Oriel 
(South Ulster). According to one later account he 
resigned the bishopric of Armagh in 457 in favour of 
his pupil Benignus. He died at Saul on March 17, His death 
461,^ but Saul and Downpatrick both claim to be 
possessors of his grave. 

A careful examination of Patrick's Confession enables His 
us to answer the question. What were the doctrines ^^^ ^^^' 
on which he laid special emphasis in the course of his 

^ This is the date given in the Bury ; Ussher and Todd suggest 
Annals of Ulster and accepted by 493. 


missionary labours, in Ireland. The Confession con- 
tains in fact an outline of his belief which maybe regarded 
as his creed. After speaking of the obligation which 
rested upon him to exalt and confess the works of God, 
he writes : — 

" There is no other God, nor ever was, nor shall 
be hereafter, except God the Father, unbegotten, 
without beginning, from whom is all beginning, up- 
holding all things, as we say; and His Son Jesus 
Christ, whom indeed we acknowledge to have been 
always with the Father before the beginning of the 
world, spiritually with the Father, begotten in an 
ineffable manner before all beginning ; and by Him 
were made things visible and invisible, who was made 
man and, death having been vanquished, was received 
in the heavens to the Father ... in whom we believe 
and whose coming we look for as soon to take place ; 
who will be the judge of the living and the dead and who 
will render unto everyone according to his deeds ; and 
He has poured upon us abundantly the Holy Spirit, a 
gift and pledge of immortality, who makes the faithful 
and the obedient to become sons of God and joint-heirs 
with Christ whom we confess and adore — one God in 
the Trinity of the sacred Name." 

Comparing this informal creed of Patrick's belief 
with that of Nicaea we notice the omission in the former 
of any allusion to the burial, the descent into Hades 
or the resurrection of our Lord, but there are no grounds 
for supposing that a belief in these did not form part 
of his faith. 
His Of Patrick's personal character and disposition we 

know comparatively little. Most of those who have 



studied his authentic writings and the earUest traditions 
will endorse the statement of Dr. Stokes who wrote 
concerning him, " He was modest, shrewd, generous, 
enthusiastic, with the Celtic tendency to exaggerate 
failure and success. Like St. Paul, he was desirous 
of martyrdom. He was physically brave and had 
strong passions which he learned to control." ^ 

If we are correct in assigning to Patrick the author- The 
ship of the hymn known as the Lorica or ' Breastplate,' 
it would appear that he shared the belief of many of 
his contemporaries in the magical powers that certain 
classes of persons claimed to possess. Thus we find 
in the hymn an invocation " against the spells of 
women and smiths and druids." 

In the same hymn we have Patrick's beautiful ampli- 
fication of the statement of St. Paul, " I live, and yet 
no longer I, but Christ liveth in me." The author of 
the hymn writes, 

" Christ with me^ Christ before me, 
Christ behind me, Christ in me, 
Christ under me, Christ over me, 
Christ to right of me, Christ to left of me, 
Christ in lying down, Christ in sitting, Christ in rising up." 

We have already referred to the fact that there was 
a Christian community in Ireland before the time of 
Patrick or of his predecessor Palladius. An argument The keep- 
in favour of the contention that this community Efster. 
was of considerable size may be deduced from 
the variation between the Irish and continental 
uses in regard to the mode of calculating Easter and 
the form of the clerical tonsure. If, as there is reason 

^ Tripartite Life ed. by Dr. W. Stokes, i. cxxxv. 


to suppose, Patrick received his ecclesiastical education 
and training in France, it is most unlikely that he 
would have afterwards introduced into Ireland customs 
disapproved of by the Gallic Church, and the unwilling- 
ness shown by the Irish to change their customs and 
to adopt the continental uses, and the vehement con- 
troversies which the proposal to do so excited, seem 
to show that the uses objected to had been introduced 
and widely adopted before the time of Patrick. The 
dispute in regard to the reckoning of Easter separated 
for a time the southern from the northern Irish. 
The southern Irish adopted the English, i.e. the Roman 
reckoning, in 634, whilst in the north this reckoning 
was not adopted till 704.^ 
introduc- If wc may interpret Patrick's own statement that 
monastic " SOUS of the Scots and daughters of chieftains are seen 
system. ^^ ^^ mouks and virgins of Christ" in the light of 
the later information supplied by his biographers, the 
credit is due to him of introducing the monastic system 
into Ireland and of inaugurating the monastic schools, 
the subsequent development of which rendered Ireland 
famous throughout Europe, alike for its piety and its 
learning,^ The early monasteries and monastic schools 
founded in, or soon after, the time of St. Patrick were 
collections of rude huts made of planks and moss : 
the church which was attached being built of wood 
frequently bore the name Duirthech, i.e. " house of oak." 
Many of the monasteries were situated on islands round 
the coast or in the inland lochs. ^ 

^ See p. 158 n. examina effuderunt. " Vita S. Mala- 

2 See the statement of St. Bernard cMor c. 5. Migne P.L. clxxxii. 

" In exteras etiam nationes quasi ^ For a further reference to Irish 

inundatione facta ilia se sanctorum monasteries see pp. 65 f., 159. 


The fact that Patrick's Confession and his letter to Use of 
Coroticus were written m Latin gives support to thelan^age"! 
later tradition that he caused Latin to become the 
ecclesiastical language in Ireland. By doing so he 
rendered it possible for the monks and other students 
in the monasteries to get into touch with the greater 
part of the theological and secular literature that was 
then available in Western Europe. At the same time 
he prepared the way for the close relations that were 
eventually to be estabhshed between the Bishop of 
Rome and the Irish Church. 

Prof. Bury, comparing Patrick's action in making 
Latin instead of Gaelic the language of the Irish Church 
with the different poUcy adopted in Russia at the time 
of its conversion, writes : 

" If Greek had been originally estabhshed as the 
ecclesiastical language of Russia in the days of Vladimir, 
we may surmise that in the days of Alexius all national 
pecuharities and deviations which had been introduced 
in the meantime could have easily been corrected without 
causing the great split. On the other hand if GaeUc 
had been estabhshed by Patrick as the ecclesiastical 
tongue of Ireland, the reformers, who in the seventh 
century sought to aboKsh idiosyncrasies and restore 
uniformity, might have caused a rupture in the Irish 
Church, which might have needed long years to heal." ^ 

Before Patrick died there were, according to tradition, other 
at least three other bishops in Ireland, Secundinus, pprary " 
Auxilius and Isserminus, but of their missionary ^'^^^ps 
labours or of those of their successors we know 
practically nothing. 

1 Life of S. Patrick, p. 219 f . 


A national It is to be iioted that the priests and bishops to 
Ireland, whom Patrick entrusted the continuation and develop- 
ment of his work were in almost every instance natives 
of Ireland, and to this it was due that Christianity be- 
came almost at once a national institution. Although he 
was not himself a native of Ireland, he made no attempt 
to introduce men of his own nationality, nor, as was 
subsequently done in England, to bring men from 
Italy or France. Christianity "was not looked upon 
as coming from foreigners, or as representing the 
manners and civilization of a foreign nation. Its 
priests and bishops, the successors of St. Patrick in his 
missionary labours, were many of them descendants 
of the ancient kings and chieftains so venerated by a 
clannish people." ^ 
St. Although the facts relating to her life and work are 

lost in the mists of tradition,^ some mention should be 
made of St. Bridget (Brigid, Brigit, or Bride), who is 
reputed to have been the foundress of a large number 
of religious communities for women and to whose 
honour innumerable churches have been dedicated.^ 
The earliest existing life of her was written by Cogitosus 
the father of Muirchu (one of Patrick's biographers) 
not earlier than the middle of the seventh century. 
This biography does not mention Patrick or bring 
Bridget into connection with him.^ 

^ S. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, by ^ There are 18 parishes in Ire- 

Todd, p. 514 f. land called Kilbride, i.e. church of 

^ The close resemblance between Bridget, 

the rites connected with the cult of * Cogitosus' Life of Bridget is 

St. Bridget and those connected with printed in Ganisii Leciiones antiquce, 

the worship of the pagan Brigantes vol. v. According to Todd the Life 

has been urged as a reason for sup- was written in the ninth century, 

posing that the saint and the goddess Another life by Anmchad bishop of 

are to be identified. Kildare dates from the tenth century. 


According to later tradition she was born about 
450, was baptized by a disciple of Patrick and died 
in 513. For the greater part of her life she is said 
to have resided at the monastery of Kildare. 

Two passages in the Life of Gildas, a Welsh saint a revival 
{circa 516-570), and in the Life of Disibod have been hm.^^^"^ 
quoted by several writers as affording evidence of a 
great pagan reaction throughout Ireland during the 
latter part of the sixth and the first half of the seventh 
century, but it is doubtful how far their evidence can 
be accepted as trustworthy.^ According to the former 
statement, Gildas by his preaching in Ireland effected 
a great revival of the faith. Neither of these lives 
was written earlier than the tenth or eleventh 

The reintroduction of paganism at the time of the EfPects of 
Danish invasion of Ireland throughout large sections inv^tJli'^^ 
of the island, was in part due to the missionary 
activities of Charlemagne. He had ravaged Saxony 
and northern Germany with fire and sword and had 
compelled their inhabitants to become nominal 
Christians. Those who escaped his oppression fled to 
Denmark and Scandinavia and by their tales of the 
cruelties practised by the Christian King imparted 
to their hosts their own bitter hatred for the name 

1 See Vita OildcB 11, 12. Vita had "lost the catholic faith." Tire- 

Disihodi I, 11 (Migne P. L. cxvii. chanus [circ. 750) states that the 

1099 ff.) also Les Ghritientis Gel- second order of Irish Saints, beginning 

tiques par D. L. Gougaud, pp. 78 ff. in 544, received their Order of mass 

The monk of Ruys who wrote the from David, Cadoc and Gildas. Other 

first Ufe of Gildas states that he went traditions refer to the number of Irish 

to Ireland at the request of King who about this time went over to 

Ainmire (568-71) to "restore eccle- seek instruction in the faith in Wales, 

siastical order," because the Irish See H. and Stubbs i. p. 115 f. 


Christian. When then at the close of the ninth 
century the Danes appeared off the coast of Ireland 
they were eager to obhterate every sign of Christianity 
that they found. In 793, according to the Saxon 
Chronicle, " the Danes came and dreadfully destroyed 
the churches of Christ." In 795 they were first seen 
off the Irish coast. 
Influence It is probable that the reaction against Christianity 
Druids, was in part due to a revival of the influence of the 
Druids. Mention occurs of the use of Druidical charms 
by Fraechan, who is referred to as " the Druid king 
of Diarmait." ^ The rapid success which Patrick had 
Super- formerly won is partly to be explained by the super- 
versio^nJ! fi-cial character of the conversions which he secured. 
Thus Dr. O'Donovan writes : " Nothing is clearer than 
that Patrick engrafted Christianity on the pagan 
superstitions with so much skill that he won the people 
over to the Christian religion before they understood 
the exact difference between the two systems of belief, 
and much of this half pagan, half Christian, religion 
will be found not only in the Irish stories of the middle 
ages, but in the superstitions of the peasantry to the 
present day." ^ 
Worship Turgesius, who landed in the north in 831, soon made 
Armagh!'' himsclf mastcr of nearly the whole island, and estabUshed 
the worship of Thor in Armagh, himself officiating as 
high priest. His conquests were in fact a crusade 
directed against Christianity. The murder of Turgesius 
in 845 put an end to this crusade and ere many decades 
had passed the Danes began to be influenced by their 

1 See 8. Patrick, AposUe of Ireland, ^ Four Masters, p. 131, note, 

by Todd, p. 119. 


Christian surroundings, and paganism tended rapidly 
to disappear. 

An important feature of Celtic Christianity in Ire- Multi- 
land and to a lesser extent in Scotland and Wales was bishops^ 
its tendency to multiply bishops, who were as a rule 
attached to monasteries and were not in charge of 
dioceses. Patrick is said himself to have consecrated 
no less than three hundred. 

The monastic establishment at St. Mochta in Co. 
Louth possessed 100 bishops. In some cases bishops 
lived together in groups of seven, the Donegal mar- 
tyr ology containing references to six such groups.^ 
St. Bernard, writing in the twelfth century, says 
of Ireland that " bishops were changed and multiplied 
without order, and without reason, so that one bishopric 
was not content with a single bishop, but almost every 
church had its separate bishop." ^ 

Irish monasticism, the development of which dates Irish mon- 
back to the days of Patrick, soon began to exercise a^^^^^^'*'*^ 
dominating influence upon the Irish Church, and its 
development rendered possible the missionary work 
on the continent for which Ireland became famous. 

^ See Todd's L^/eo/<S^.Pa<ncA;, p. 32. presided, illustrates the subordinate 

2 De vita Malachice. Migne P. L. position occupied by bishops in Ire- 

182, col. 1086. land. The bishop asked Bridget's 

The tendency to multiply bishops in permission to go on a visit to Rome, 

countries other than Ireland is illus- and when she refused her consent he 

trated by the canon of the Council of started without it. She then prayed 

Laodicea {circ. 372) which prohibited that as a punishment for his dis- 

the consecration of bishops for villages obedience he might meet with a 

or for places where there were no sudden death on the road, and in 

towns. answer to her prayers he was de- 

The accepted tradition relating to voured by wild dogs in the plain of 

the death of Condlaed who was Leinster. (See SchoUa in Acta S.S. 

bishop in the monastery of Kildare on the martyrology of iEJngus for 

over which the "Blessed Bridget" May 3.) 


The author of a recent book on Celtic monasticism 
writes concerning Ireland : 

" There were three distinct developments of monas- 
teries which extended from the introduction of Chris- 
tianity until about the middle of the seventh century. 
The first was defensive : all Christians lived together for 
mutual protection : the village either became a Christian 
settlement, or all the Christian converts lived together 
and formed a Christian settlement — a fortified village — 
of their own. Then came the relapse into paganism, 
followed by the second conversion of Ireland, when 
Welsh monks came over and established schools of 
learning and devotion. South Wales provided for the 
centre and south of Ireland by the school or monastery 
of Clonard ; North Wales providing for the north and 
Ulster by the school of the Irish Bangor. When these 
schools filled to overflowing, a third development arose. 
Monks went forth from the monasteries as hermits or 
missionaries, or both, and Ireland began to pay back 
her loan to Wales, by sending over missionaries to 
complete the conversion of that country. The schools 
continued and great efforts were made at teaching 
and converting by the missionaries from those schools. 
. . . The effort of this last development of Celtic 
monasticism was checked by two causes, the destruction 
of the great Welsh monastery of Bangor about 632 and 
the advance of the Latin clergy." ^ 

The limits of our space forbid us to dwell upon the 
organization and history of these monasteries, or 
missionary colleges, as they deserve to be called, 
but in describing the efforts made to convert other 

1 The Celtic Church of Wales by I. W. Willis Bund, p. 177 f. 


lands we shall frequently be reminded of their 

We pass on to consider the development of Chris- 
tianity in the country to which the first missionaries 
who had received their training in Ireland directed 
their steps. 




trcaces of 

tion at 
ma drine. 

Use of 
the word 
** Scotia." 

During the Roman occupation of England the south 
of Scotland as far north as the wall connecting the 
Clyde with the Firth of Forth was occupied at intervals 
by Roman troops, and though no record of their work 
has survived, it is probable that a knowledge of Chris- 
tianity was introduced amongst its inhabitants by 
Roman or British Christians. The oldest existing trace 
of Christianity in Scotland is probably a column in 
the churchyard of Kirkmadrine in Wigtownshire, the 
inscription ^ on which reads : — " Here lie holy and 
eminent priests, namely Viventius and Mavorius." 
There are several other monumental stones in Wigtown- 
shire which may perhaps claim an equal antiquity, 
and which probably date back to a time prior to the 
withdrawal of the Roman legions, i.e. to the beginning 
of the fifth century. 

Before referring to the work of the earliest known 
missionaries it will be well to recall the fact that the 

^ hie jacent sci et prsecipui sacer- 
dotes id es(t) viventius et mavorius. 
Dean Stanley writes, " Nowhere in 
Great Britain is there a Christian 
record so ancient as the grey weather- 
beaten column that now serves as the 
gatepost of the deserted churchyard 
of Kirk Madrine. . . . Long may it 
stand as the first authentic trace of 

Christian civilization in these islands." 
Lectures on the History of the Church 
of Scotland, p. 85. Bp. Dowden 
suggests that "ides" is a proper 
name, also that '* prsecipui sacer- 
dotes" probably means "bishops." 
See Proceedings of Antiquarians of 
Scotland, vol. xxxii. (1897-8), p. 247. 


names Scot and Scotia were, in early times, applied 
exclusively to the Irish and to Ireland. Up to the 
twelfth century the word ' Scots ' was used to denote 
the Irish of Ireland, or the Irish settlers on the west 
coast of what is now called Scotland,^ It is important 
to remember this fact when referring to the earhest 
sources of information concerning the evangehzation 
of Scotland. 

It is doubtful whether the early inhabitants of idols. 
Scotland possessed any idols, but their Druids acted 
as diviners, sorcerers and medicine men.^ The first 
missionary concerning whose life and work anything 
can be definitely ascertained is Ninian. Bede, who is St. 
our earliest and only trustworthy authority for his ^"^^^• 
life, unfortunately devotes but a few Unes to him. 
He writes, " The southern Picts . . , had long before 
{ix. before 565), as is reported, forsaken the errors of 
idolatry and embraced the true faith by the preaching 
of Nynia a most reverend bishop and holy man of the 
British nation, who had been regularly instructed at 
Rome in the faith and mysteries of the truth ; whose 
episcopal seat, named after Saint Martin the bishop 
and famous for its church, where he himself and many 
other saints rest in the body, is still in existence among 
the EngKsh nation. The place belongs to the province csandida 
of the Bernicians and is commonly called the White asTrJ'''" 
House because he built there a church of stone, con- 
trary to the custom of the Britons." ^ Aelred a monk 
of Rievaulx in Yorkshire, who wrote an elaborate life 
of Ninian 700 years after his death, claims to have 

^ See Skene's Celtic Scotland, ii. 2 g^^ Insula Sanctorum et Doctorum, 

pp. 137, 398. by Bp. Healy. » Bede iii. 4. 


made use of an earlier source, but the marvels and 
absurdities with which his life abounds render it im- 
possible to accept even the outline of the life given 
by him as historical. 

Ninian was probably born of Christian parents on 
the shores of the Solway about 350. According to 
Aelred he was consecrated as a bishop in Rome and, 
having visited Tours on his way back from Rome, 
procured from St. Martin masons, by whose help he 
built his " church of stone." On his return he carried 
on his missionary labours, which were attended with 
great success, amongst the southern Picts who inhabited 
the middle parts of Scotland south of the Grampians. 
He is said to have died on September 16, 432.^ It is 
probable that he introduced the monastic system into 
northern Britain, and many Welsh and Irish students 
resorted to his monastery at Candida Casa prior to its de- 
struction by the Saxons. According to some authorities 
Bannaven Taberniae, where Patrick was born and 
where he spent his boyhood, is to be identified with 
Dumbarton on the Clyde. If this identification be 
accepted^ it would tend to show that a Christian com- 
munity had existed here for at least 50 years prior to his 
birth {circ. 389), as Patrick's grandfather was a Christian 
Paiiadius priest, Forduu's Chronicle, written about 1385, states 
SndT" that Paiiadius was sent by Pope Celestine to labour 

^ Many churches in Scotland have rated in the Irish calendars as Moinenn 

been dedicated to St. Ninian, one of i.e. my Nynias." Plummer, Baedce 

the latest being the cathedral church opera ii. 128. The form Trinian 

at Perth. " Irish tradition, or in- occurs in the Isle of Man. 

vention, takes Nynias to Ireland to- ^ According to Prof. Bury the site 

wards the end of his life to found the of Patrick's birth was in South Wales, 

church of Cluain Conaire in Leinster, or in the neighbourhood of the Bristol 

and to die there. He is commemo- Channel. 


as a missionary in Scotland, but the source of his in- 
formation which is obviously the statement by Prosper 
of Aquitaine that he was sent as first bishop to the 
Scots, has evidently been misinterpreted by him.^ By 
" Scots " Prosper could only have meant the Irish. 
Fordun further states that St. Ternan and St. Serf st.Teman 
(Servanus) were fellow-labourers with Palladius. The serf. 
names of these two are preserved in Scottish tradition. 

The southern Picts, who had been converted by Ninian 
at the beginning of the fifth century, and had apparently 
relapsed into heathenism by the middle of the sixth 
century ,2 were restored to the faith by the labours of 
Kentigern commonly known in Scotland as St. Mungo. st. Kenti- 
The scene of his labours was the British kingdom of ^^^^ 
Strathclyde, or Cumbria, which extended from Dum- 
barton its capital to the R. Derwent in Cumberland, 
and was bounded on the east by Bernicia, the kingdom 
of the Angles. The only life of Kentigern which we 
possess was written to order for the Bishop of Glasgow 
by Jocelyn a monk in Furness Abbey, Lancashire. 
Bp. Dowden refers to this life as a " tissue of mon- 
strous absurdities." ^ The facts concerning his early 
life which are regarded by modern authorities as possibly 
true are these. His mother, the daughter of a Pictish 
king, when about to give birth to a child was cast 
adrift on the sea in a frail coracle and eventually landed 
and gave birth to her son on the shore of the Forth. 
Here the mother and child were cared for by St. Serf 

^ See above, p. 48, note. apostasiam lapsi. He speaks of the 

^ See Jocelyn's Life of Kentigern king of Lothian as semipaganus. 

cap. xxvii. Picti vero prius per ^ The Celtic Ch. in Scotland, p. 52, 

Sanctum Ninianum ex magna parte and 58-79. 

. . . fidem susceperunt, Dein in 


and the name Kentigern^ and afterwards the name 
Mungo were given to the child. At the age of 25 
he was chosen as bishop of Strathclyde and was con- 
secrated by a single bishop who was brought from 
Ireland for the purpose. Kentigern established a 
monastery at Glasgow where he remained till the 
hostility of a new king of Strathclyde induced him 
Visit to to seek refuge amons; the Christian Britons in Wales. 

Wales. r^ 1 . . 11 11- T • 

On his journey soutn he preached m the districts 
round Carlisle, where to-day nine churches are dedicated 
to his memory. After residing for a time with Bishop 
David, he founded the monastery of Llanelwy.^ and, 
about 573, returned to Strathclyde, on the invitation 
of a new king named Roderick ^ who gave him a hearty 
welcome. Soon after his return, when he was now an 
Meeting old man, he met at Glasgow the famous missionary 

with St. ^ . ' , ^.^ . , , -^ 

Coiiimba. Columba, who came to Glasgow with a great company 
of monks to greet him. As the two drew near to each 
other both parties chanted aloud psalms and spiritual 
songs. The bishop and the saint embraced each other 
and exchanged staves in token of their mutual love 
in Christ. The date of Kentigern's death is probably 
about 603.4 
St. We pass with a sense of relief from the largely 

Coumba. niythological biographies of Ninian and Kentigern 
to the more trustworthy record of Scotland's third 
great missionary, saint Columba, as given by Adamnan. 
Adamnan was abbot (from 679 to 704) of the monastery 

^ Kentigern probably means " chief a kingdom which stretched from the 

lord," Mungo means " Dear and Clyde to the Mersey, 

loveable." * Jocelyn his biographer states that 

2 See p. 157. he died " matured in merit " at the 

^ Roderick having defeated his age of 185 ! 
heathen enemies had become ruler of 


in lona which Columba had founded and in his early 
years had " frequent opportunities of conversing with 
those who had seen St. Columba." ^ " Adamnan's 
memoir/' writes Dr. Reeves, "is to be prized as an 
inestimable literary relic of the Irish Church ; perhaps 
with all its defects the most valuable monument of that 
institution which has escaped the ravages of time." ^ 
Although his work partakes of the nature of hagiology 
and consists to a large extent of miracles and wonders, 
the biographical details which it contains are stamped 
with the impress of truth.^ Columba, who was born 
in Donegal in 521, belonged to the clan of the O'Donnells 
and his father and mother were both connected with 
royal families. He is said to have received the two 
names of Crimthann, a wolf, and Columba, a dove. 
He attended the monastic school of Finnian of Movilla, His life ii 
where he was ordained deacon, and also received ^^^^*^^- 
instruction from the " bard " Gemman in Leinster. 
According to later tradition he afterwards resided for 
several years at the monastery of Clonard over which 
another Finnian presided, where he was ordained a 
priest. He subsequently devoted fifteen years to 
founding monasteries and building churches in various 
parts of Ireland and of the islands off the west coast. 
According to the earliest traditions his departure from 
Ireland and the start of his missionary work in Scot- 
land were an act of penitence. It is said that his old 

^ For traditions respecting Adam- revelations, the second referring to 

nan see Reeves' Life of Saint Columba, his power of working miracles, and the 

pp. cxlix. and 99. last dealing with " Angelic appari- 

^ Id. p. xxxi. tions which have been revealed either 

^ The Ufe by Adamnan consists of to others concerning the blessed man 

three parts, the first containing illus- or to himself concerning others." 
trations of Columba 's prophetic 


teacher Finnian of Mo villa lent Columba a "book" 
or a "Gospel"^ to examine and that he transcribed 
it before returning the original, whereupon Finnian 
claimed possession of the copy. The dispute as to its 
ownership having been referred to the king of Meath, 
the judgment delivered was, " To every cow her 
calf belongs, and so to every book its child-book." 
Columba, enraged at the decision, invited his kins- 
men to wage war against Diarmaid's clan, and in 
the battle which ensued 3000 of these were killed, 
whereupon, moved with remorse, he consulted his 
friend Molaise who lived on Inismurray, six miles 
off the coast of Sligo, who bade him leave Ireland 
and devote his life to missionary work amongst the 
heathen Picts till he had converted to Christ as many 
persons as had been killed in the battle against the 
king of Meath. The tradition is of uncertain value, 
and, whether or not the story concerning the "Gospel " 
and the ensuing battle be true, it is not improbable, 
as Skene suggests, that the defeat which the British 
Dalriads had suffered at the hands of the Picts under 
their king Brude had appealed to the chivalrous instincts 
of Columba and induced him to aid them by attempting 
to convert their foes. Thus Skene writes, '' This great 
reverse called forth the mission of Columba, commonly 
called Columcille, and led to the foundation of the 
The Irish monastic Church in Scotland." ^ The old Irish life 
cSumba. of Columba has nothing to say concerning his remorse 
or penance. The account which it gives runs as follows : 
" When Columcille had made the circuit of all Erin, and 

1 Probably to be identified with the Dr. H. S. Lawlor), see p. 582. 
extracts from the Psalter contained ^ Celtic Scotland^ ii. p. 79. 

in the Cathach of S. Columba (ed. by 


when he had sown faith and reUgion, when numerous 
multitudes had been baptized by him, when he had 
founded churches and monasteries and had left in 
them elders, and reliquaries and relics therein, the 
determination that he had determined from the begin- 
ning of his life came into his mind, namely to go on a 
pilgrimage. He then meditated going across the sea 
to preach the word of God to the men of Scotland 
(Ir. Albanchaib). He went therefore on the journey. 
Forty-five years was he in Scotland: seventy-seven 
years was his full age."^ 

According to the Irish tradition Columba landed on Arrival at 
lona^ with 20 bishops, 40 priests, 30 deacons and 50 
students, but according to the story as told by Adamnan, 
which is much more credible, he had twelve com- 
panions in all. The date of his landing was 563. 
He had apparently received a grant of the island 
from his kinsman Conal, the reigning prince of the 
Dalriads in Scotland. Here he built a church and 
some monastic cells, and after a short time he landed 
on the mainland and proceeded to visit the Pictish Visit to 
king Brude whose chief residence was at a place near Brude. 
Inverness. Arriving at the king's residence he and 
his companions were met by closed doors, which, how- 
ever, at the sign of the cross opened at once to admit 
them, and, after no long delay, king Brude accepted 

1 Quoted by W. Stokes in Lives of Highlands." {The Celtic Church in 

the Saints from the Booh of Lismore, Scotland, Dowden, ^. 127). The word 

p. 178. lona is clearly a corruption of loua 

^ " In the early Irish records the which is the name used by Adamnan. 

name of the island appears as la, Hya, The name Icolmcille = the island of 

or Hy. This last form (pronounced Colum of the cells. (See Bede Ecd. 

ee) is still used in reference to the Hist. iv. 9 ; see also Reeves' Life of 

island by the Gaels of the Western Saint Columba pp. cxxvi.-cxxx.) 


the Christian faith and he and many of his people were 

Columba's biographers have unfortunately preserved 
for us no details in regard to his missionary labours 
amongst the Picts, whose country was the scene of 
his chief missionary efforts. He laboured also un- 
ceasingly among the Christians on the south-east coast 
of Scotland and the islands, and the extent of his 
influence amongst these may be inferred from the fact 
that he " ordained " Aidan as king of Scottish Dalriada in 
574, Aidan having come to him to lona for this purpose.^ 
Herevisitsin 575 he was present at a gathering of chiefs and 
ecclesiastics at Drumceatt in Ireland, attended (if a 
later tradition be true) by 40 priests, 50 deacons and 
20 students, and was instrumental in freeing the in- 
habitants of Dalriada from the payment of tribute to 
the chief king of Ireland. 

He is also said to have been present at the battle of 
Coleraine, fought between his followers and those of 
St. Comgall of Bangor in 579, as the result of a quarrel 
relating to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. About the year 
585 Columba paid another visit to Ireland, and revisited 
the monastery of Durrow, founded by him in 553, 
and St. Kiaran's monastery at Clonmacnoise, which 
afterwards became one of the most important centres 
of religion in Ireland. 
Refer- Bedc, in the course of a brief description of Columba 

B^ede. and his work, writes : ''he converted the Pictish nation 
to the faith of Christ by his preaching and example." 
Of lona he writes : '' That island has for its ruler an 
abbot who is a priest, to whose direction all the province 

1 Adamnan iii. 5. 


and even the bishops, contrary to the usual method, 
are subject, according to the example of their first 
teacher, who was not a bishop, but a priest and a 
monk." 1 

A beautiful and, from the modern missionary stand- Coiumba's 
point, a helpful story is told by Adamnan of the way cessory 
in which Columba by his intercessory prayers on their p^^^^^^* 
behalf was enabled to come to the reUef of his fellow- 
labourers when they were tired and exhausted. He 
writes : "As the brethren, after harvest work, were 
returning to the monastery in the evening . . . they 
seemed each one to feel within himself something 
wonderful and unusual . . . and for some days at the 
same place and at the same hour in the evening they 
perceived it. . . . One of them, a senior (when asked 
to explain) says . . . ' a certain unaccustomed and 
incomparable joy is spread abroad in my heart, which of 
a sudden consoles me in a wonderful way, and so greatly 
gladdens me that I can think neither of sadness nor 
labour. The load, moreover, however heavy, which 
I am carrying on my back from this place until we come 
to the monastery, is so much lightened, how I know not, 
that I do not feel that I am bearing any burden.' When 
all the others had made similar statements, Baithen, 
' the superintendent of labours among them,' said, 
' Ye know that Columba, mindful of our toil, thinks 
anxiously about us and grieves that we come to him 
so late, and by reason that he comes not in body to meet 
us, his spirit meets our steps, and that it is which so much 
consoles and makes us glad.' " ^ 

Adamnan describes at some length " the passing 

1 Hist. Ecd. iii. 4. « Vita i. 29. 




nan's de- 
of his 

away " of the saint thirty-four years after his coming 
to lona. Knowing that the end was near at hand, 
" the old man, weary with age, is borne on a wagon 
and goes to visit the brethren while at their work." 
To them he says : '' During the Easter festival . . . 
with desire I have desired to pass away to Christ . . . 
but lest a festival of joy should be turned for you into 
sadness, I thought it better to put off the day of my 
departure from the world a little longer." ^ Then 
" sitting just as he was in the wagon, turning his face 
eastward, he blessed the island, with its inhabitants." 
At the end of the same week^ he and his attendant 
Diarmaid went to bless the granary, and he gave thanks 
to God for the store of corn which it contained. As 
he was returning from the granary " a white horse, 
the same that used, as a willing servant, to carry the 
milk vessels from the cowshed to the monastery, runs 
up to him, and lays his head against his breast . . . and 
knowing that his master was soon about to leave him, 
and that he would see him no more began to whinny 
and to shed copious tears into the lap of the saint." ^ 
Columba refused to allow the horse to be interfered with, 
and " he blessed his servant, the horse, as it sadly turned 
to go away from him." Then he ascended a little hill 
which overlooked the monastery and after standing 
for awhile on the top he raised both his hands and 

1 Id. iii. 24. 

2 It would appear that when 
Christianity first spread throughout 
Scotland it was the custom of many 
Christians to observe Saturday as a 
day of rest and to allow ordinary work 
to be done on Sundays. Thus Skene 
writes, referring to this custom, " they 
seem to have followed a custom of 

which we find traces in the early 
monastic Church of Ireland, by 
which they held Saturday to be the 
sabbath on which they rested from 
all their labours, and on Sunday, on 
the Lord's day, they celebrated the 
resurrection by the service in church. " 
{Celtic Scotland ii. 349.) 

3 Id. 


blessed the monastery, saying, " Upon this place, 
small though it be and mean, not only the kings of the 
Scots (Irish) and their peoples, but also the rulers of 
barbarous and foreign races, with the people subject 
to them, shall confer great and notable honour : by the 
saints also even of other churches shall no common 
reverence be accorded to it." Returning again to the 
monastery he sat in his hut transcribing the thirty- 
fourth Psalm and when he came to the verse " They 
that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing " he 
said, " I must stop at the foot of this page, and what 
follows let Baithen write." Then he attended vespers 
in the chiu*ch and afterwards, sitting up in his cell, he 
addressed his last words to the brethren, saying, 
" These my last words I commend to you, O my sons, 
that ye have mutual and unfeigned love among your- 
selves, with peace ; and if, according to the example 
of the holy fathers, ye shall observe this, God, the 
Comforter of the good, will help you, and I, abiding 
with Him, will intercede for you." When the bell began 
to toll at midnight he rises in haste and, " running faster 
than the others, he enters alone and on bended knees 
falls down in prayer beside the altar." Here, a few 
moments later, the brethren found him, " and," writes 
Adamnan, "as we have learned from some who were 
there present, the saint, his soul not yet departing, 
with open eyes upturned, looked round about on either 
side with wonderful cheerfulness and joy of countenance 
on seeing the holy angels coming to meet him." 

After describing the miraculous occurrences which 
attended his funeral, Adamnan continues : " This 
great favour has also been granted to this same man of 


blessed memory, that although he lived in this small 
and remote isle of the British Ocean, his name hath 
not only become illustrious throughout the whole of 
our own Scotia (Ireland) and Britain, largest of the 
islands of the whole world, but hath reached even so 
far as triangular Spain, and the Gauls and Italy . . . 
even to the city of Rome itself which is the head of all 
Character Of Columba's character and disposition we know 
Coiurnba. morc than of his missionary labours, concerning which 
his biographers tell us far less than we could have 
wished to hear. 

The author of the life given in the Acta Sanctorum 
writes by way of illustrating Columba's humility and 
piety : '' He would bathe the feet of the Brethren 
after their daily labour, he would carry the bags of 
flour from the mill to the kitchen, he subjected himself 
to great austerities, sleeping on a hide spread on the 
ground with a stone for a pillow, most strict and constant 
in fasting, in prayer, in meditation." ^ 

Apart from the reference to the transcription of the 
Psalter by Columba immediately before his death, 
frequent allusions occur to his skill as a transcriber of 
the Scriptures or of other books. Thus Adamnan 
refers incidentally to a book of hymns for the week 
which had been written by his hand.^ 

He writes : 

" He could not pass the space even of a single hour 
without applying himself either to prayer, or reading, 
or writing, or else to some manual labour. By day and 

1 iii. 23. orum. See also ii. 45, where a refer- 

2 Acta Sanctorum, June 9. ence occurs to the " books of the 
^ ii. 9, hymnorum liber septimani- blessed man placed on the altar." 


by night he was so occupied, without any intermission, 
in unwearied exercises of fasts and vigils that the 
burden of any one of these particular labours might 
seem to be beyond human endurance. And, amid 
all, dear to all, ever showing a pleasant holy counten- 
ance, he was gladdened in his inmost heart by the joy 
of the Holy Spirit." ^ 

Bishop Westcott writes : " Columba loved men and Bp. west- 
through love he understood them. He was enabled c^^^^ba's 
to recognize the signs of a divine kinsmanship, the un- ^^^■ 
conscious strivings after noble things, in the ignorant, 
the rude, the wayward. . . . By a living sympathy 
he entered into the souls of those who came before 
him. . . . He had mastered the secret of effective 
help to the suffering by making his own the burden 
of which they could be relieved. . . . Columba 
loved men and he loved nature because in both he saw 
God. His vision embraced the great spiritual realities 
of life. He regarded things with a spiritual eye : there- 
fore his countenance flashed from time to time with 
beams of an unearthly joy, when, in the language of his 
biographer, he saw the ministering angels round about 
him." 2 

In the 8th century the remains of Columba were 
disinterred and conveyed to Ireland, owing to the fear 
caused by the ravages of the Danes. In 802 the monas- 
tery of lona was pillaged and burned by the Danes. 

The half Christianized tribes of Angles in the 
south-east of Scotland shared the fate of those in the 
north-east of England, and were overrun by Penda 

^ Bk. i. second preface. by Bp. Lightfoot. Appendix p. 181-3. 

^ Leaders in the Northern Churchy 


the heathen king of Mercia when Edwin was defeated 
and killed at the battle of Heathfield (633). 
Efforts to After the death of Columba members of his brother- 
the^Pkjtr hood continued their efforts to evangelize the Picts 
throughout the north of Scotland. 

The following list of Christian settlements, mostly 

in Western Scotland, which were the direct outcome of 

Columba's work in lona, is given by Haddan and 

Stubbs 1 — St. Mochonna (or Machar), a bishop, one 

of Columba's companions in Aberdeen : St. Cormac 

the navigator, either one of St. Columba's disciples, 

or the Head of an independent monastery in the 

Orkneys : St. Ernan in the isle of Himba or Hinba : 

St. Lugneus Mocumin in the isle of Elena : SS. Baithen 

and Findchan at Campus Lunge and Artchain in Ethica 

(Tiree) : SS. Cailtan and Diuni near Loch Awe (?) : 

S. Drostan at Aberdour and Deer in Buchan. The 

foregoing were all disciples of Columba and their work 

dates from 563 to 597. The following were independent 

of Columba : St. Moluag at Lismore in Argyll, 592 : 

St. Congan at Lochalsh in N. Argyll, about 600, or 

possibly in the 8th century : St. Donnan in Eigg, 

martyred in 617 : episcopal abbots at Kingarth in 

Bute, before 660 : St. Maelrubha at Applecross, 671. 

Mission- In the extreme north, and more especially in the 

mentsin^ northern islands, the heathen Scandinavians, who are 

Nortk frequently referred to as Danes, gradually increased 

in numbers. Caithness and Sutherland came to form 

part of the earldom of Orkney under the suzerainty of 

the king of Norway. The Irish missionaries failed to 

convert these intruders, but when Christianity spread 

^ vol. ii. Pt. i. p. 107 : see also Celtic Scotland by Skene ii. pp. 134-138. 


throughout Scandinavia at the end of the tenth and the 
beginning of the eleventh century/ their conversion was 
gradually effected. 

Orkney and Shetland Islands 

The first trustworthy reference to the introduction visit of 
of Christianity into the Orkney Islands is the account 565^"^ ^' 
of a visit made by Columba and some of his companions 
about 565. A Scottish tradition embodied in the 
Aberdeen Breviary asserts that Servanus a companion 
of Palladius was sent by him as a bishop to the Orkneys, 
but this tradition has no historical basis. The Orkney 
islands were inhabited by Picts till the ninth century, 
when the Norse invasions began. The Orkney and 
Shetland islands passed under the rule of the Norwegian 
jarls who were driven away from Norway in 872 by 
Harald Haarfager. 

According to a statement made by the Irish monk Irish 
Dicuil, who wrote about 825, it would appear thatS^the 
Irish monks or hermits had settled on the Shetland 1^^^^^^ 
Islands during the eighth century.^ These were appa- 
rently driven away by the pagan Northmen. 

The Northmen who afterwards settled in these islands 
remained as heathen till the time of Olaf Tryggveson 
of Norway. When Olaf was on his way from Dublin 
to Norway he put in at the island of South Ronaldsa 

^ See p. 469. ferine annis eremitse ex nostra Scotia 

^ See De mensura orhis terrce, p. 30, navigantes habitaverunt. Sed sicuti 

where he speaks of the islands " quae a principio mundi desert ae semper 

a septemtrionalibus Britannise insulis fuerunt, ita nunc causa latronum 

duorum dierum ac noctium recta Normannorum vacuse anchoretis 

navigatione plenis velis assiduo felici- plense innumerabilibus avibus." 
ter adiri queunt, in quibus in centum 


and finding that the Earl Sigurd Lodvesson had only 
one fighting ship with him he summoned him on 
board and explained to him that the time had come 
for his baptism, stating that the alternative would 
be his immediate execution, to be followed by the 
devastation of the islands. Sigurd and his followers 
were accordingly baptized and he was at the same time 
compelled to swear allegiance to Olaf and to give his 
son as a hostage for his good faith. Of any missionary 
work accomplished in these islands we have no record. 
Both the Orkney and Shetland islands contain 
dedications to St. Columba, St. Bridget, St. Ninian 
and St. Tredwell. Their political union with Scotland 
was not finally accomplished till 1468, and the Norse 
language continued to be spoken in the islands till the 
sixteenth century. 



The names and nationality of the first missionaries to introduc- 
Britain are wrapt in an obscurity which we cannot chris- 
hope to disperse. It is Ukely that a knowledge of the *^^^*y- 
faith was first introduced either by Christian soldiers 
in the Roman army, or by traders, who visited these 
shores from time to time in order to supply the wants 
of the legions that were stationed in Britain. An 
interesting trace of the presence in the north of England 
of a Syrian, who was evidently a trader and may have 
been a Christian Jew, was afforded by the discovery 
in 1878 at South Shields of the gravestone of a British 
woman who had been married to a Syrian. The last 
word of the Syriac inscription is of doubtful meaning, 
but it may perhaps be translated, " May her portion 
be in life everlasting." Whether this translation can Early in- 
be maintained or not, the inscription, which dates with 
from the end of the second, or the beginning of the^^** 
third century ,1 affords an illustration of the intercourse 

^ For an account of the finding of basket of fruit at her left side. The 

this stone, and a discussion in regard stone was found at the site of the 

to its meaning, see the " Transactions Roman cemetery not far from the 

ofthe Society of BibUcal Archaeology" Castrum. The first part of the in- 

1879, vol. 6, pt. 2. On the stone, scription, which is in Latin, reads 

which is 6 ft. by 2 ft. 6 in., is carved " (To the memory of) the woman 

the figure of a woman sitting on a Regina of the (British) tribe of the 

chair with flowers in her lap and a Catuvellauni, the freedwoman and 




that probably existed between Britain and the East as 
early as the Christian Era, and suggests one of the 
sources from which Britons may have gained their first 
knowledge of Christianity. 

state- The statement of Clement of Rome ^ that St. 

ciementf Paul reached the farthest bounds of the West has 
been interpreted by some as referring to Britain, 
but there can be no reasonable doubt that Spain 
was the country to which the words were intended to 

and The poet Martial, who settled in Rome in a.d. 66, 

refers to a British lady in Rome named Claudia, who 
was the wife of Pudens.^ It is at least possible that 
these are to be identified with the Claudia and Pudens 
from whom St. Paul sends greetings to Timothy,^ but, 
even if we accept the identification, there is no evidence 
that Claudia ever returned to Britain or made any 
direct effort to spread the knowledge of her faith there. 
Pomponia Graecina, who was accused and acquitted 
at Rome in 57 a.d. of a '' foreign superstition," may 
perhaps have been a British Christian.^ 

King Bede states that in the time of Eleutherus, bishop 

of Rome, '' Lucius, King of the Britons, sent a letter 
to him requesting that by his mandate he might be 
made a Christian. He soon obtained the fulfilment of 

wife of Barates of Palmyra, (who died) Shields, was supported by Dr. Schiller 

aged 30." Underneath this is a line Szinessy. The tomb of Barates has 

written in Syriac of which the first also been discovered. 

four words translate, " Regina the ^ Ep. ad Cor. i. 5, 

freedwoman of Barate," while the ^ Ep. xi. 53. 

last word may either be an expression ^ 2 Tim. iv. 21. 

of regret, or may be translated " May * See Tacitus Ann. xiii. 32. Her 

his (or her) portion be in life ever- husband Aulus Plautius had come 

lasting." This translation, which back in triumph from Britain. 

was suggested by the Jewish Rabbi of 



his pious demand, and the Britons received the faith 
and kept it in quiet peace inviolate and entire, unto the 
times of the Prince Diocletian." ^ 

This story, which is probably completely fabulous, 
has been largely embellished by later writers. 

The following is a copy of the inscription which was inscrip- 
inscribed on a brass plate in St. Paul's Cathedral before st. Paul's 
tne tire oi London. drai. 

" Be hit known to al Men that the yeerys of our 
Lord God An. CLXXIX, Lucius, the fyrst Christian 
King of this land, then called Brjrtayne, fowndyd the 
fyrst Chyrch in London, that is to sey, the Chyrch of 
St. Peter apon Cornhyl, — ^and he fowndyd ther an Arch- 
bishoppys see, and made that Chirch the Metropolitant 
and cheef Chirch of this Kindom, and so enduryd the 
space of CCCC yeerys and more, unto the coming of 
Sent Austen, an Apostyl of England, the whych was 
sent into the land by Sent Gregory, the Doctor of the 
Church, in the tym of King Ethelbert, and then was 
the Archbishopyys See and Pol removyd from the 
aforeseyd Chirch by Sent Peters apon Cornhyl unto 
Derebernaum, that now ys called Canterbury, and ther 
yt remeynyth to this day." ^ 

Harnack has offered the ingenious and plausible Lucius or 
conjecture that this Lucius is to be identified with ^^^^^ 

^ Hist. Eccl. i. 4. Bede here gives Bishop Browne writes, " The docu- 

the date as 156, but Eleutherus did ments which profess to be the letters 

not become bishop of Rome till 171 connected with this request are un- 

(or possibly 177). The earliest skilful forgeries. " 

authority for this story is the Liber ^ Funeral Monuments of St. PavTs 

Poniificalis written about 530. by Weever, 1631, p. 413, quoted by 

Thence Bede probably obtained it Bishop Browne in The Christian 

through his friend Not helm, or his Church in these islands before the com- 

monks, who visited Rome in 701. ing of Augustine, p. 60. 



Abgarus king of Edessa, who, according to the well- 
known legend, invited our Lord to visit Edessa.^ 
Joseph of It is hardly necessary to refer to the legend that the 
church at Glastonbury owed its origin to Joseph of 
Arimathea, who was alleged to have been sent by Philip 
to Britain in 63 a.d. The story first appears in the 
writings of William of Malmesbury who died about 
1142. The legend may at any rate be accepted as 
proving that a Christian community existed at Glaston- 
bury at a very early date. 
state- TertuUian, writing in, or a little before, 208, says 

ments by u j^ ^jj ^^^^^ ^l Spain, amoug the various nations of 
tuiiian, Q^^j^ -j^ districts of Britain inaccessible to the Romans, 
but subdued to Christ, in all these the kingdom and 
name of Christ are venerated." ^ The inaccuracy of 
his statement as concerns Spain and Gaul renders it 
difficult to accept his reference to Britain as altogether 
and historical. Origen, writing about 230, asks "When 

Origen. |)^f ^^.^ ^.j^^ comiug of Christ did the land of Britain agree 
to the worship of the one God? or the land of the 
Mauri ? or the whole round earth ? But now, thanks to 
the Churches which occupy the bounds of the world, the 
whole earth shouts with joy to the Lord of Israel." ^ 

His statement is obviously incapable of a literal 
interpretation, but, in conjunction with the statement 

1 He suggests that by a transcrip- Lucius of Edessa. (See Expansion 

tional error in a notice inserted in the of C. ii. 410.) 

Liber Pontificalis, subsequent to 530, ^ adv. Judceos vii. For a defence 

Lucius, which was the first of the of the historical accuracy of Tertul- 

names borne by Abgarus, was inter- lian's statement see Christianity in 

preted as the name of a British king. Early Britain by Williams, pp. 75 f . 

In an early list of tombs of the apostles » Qrigen Horn. iv. 1, in Ezek. xiv. 

Edessa is referred to as Britio Edes- 59. See also Horn. vi. in Luc. and 

senorum. The word Britio may have Horn, xxviii. in Matt, 
suggested the substitution of a British 


of Tertullian, it tends to establish the fact that there 
was a considerable number of Christians in Britain 
early in the third century. 

We come now to the well-known story of the martyr- 
dom of St. Alban, which is stated by Bede to have St. Aiban. 
occurred during the persecution of Diocletian.^ The 
account given by Bede ^ may be summarized as follows 
and partly in his own words. Alban, whilst still a 
pagan, having received and sheltered a Christian cleric 
who was fleeing from his persecutors, was so influenced 
by his piety and his prayers that " he left the darkness 
of idolatry and became a Christian with his whole 
heart." When the soldiers of the "impious prince" 
came to seize his guest, Alban assumed his dress and 
delivered himself to them in his stead. The judge 
before whom he was taken, who was standing by an 
altar of the gods, said to him, " Because you have pre- 
ferred to conceal a rebel and a sacrilegious person rather 
than give him up to the soldiers, that the scorner of the 
gods might pay the penalty merited by his blasphemy, 
whatever punishments were due to him it is yours to 
undergo, if you attempt to flinch from the observances 
of our religion." Alban rephed that he was a Christian 
and that "whosoever shall have offered sacrifices to 
these images shall receive the eternal punishments of 
hell as his reward." After being scourged he was led 
forth across the river to be beheaded. Three separate 
miracles occurred in connection with his martyrdom, 
whereupon the judge, overawed by the miracles, 

1 The Diocletian persecution began the martyrdom of St. Alban occurs in 

in 303. The Saxon Chronicle dates the Life of Germanus by Constantius 

the martyrdom of St. Alban in 283. (i. 25), and in Gildas {Hist viii.), 

^ Hist. Eccl. i. 7. A reference to 


refrained from further persecutions. About the same 
time, according to Bede, '' Aaron and Juhus, citizens 
of Legionum Urbs (Caerleon), and very many others 
of both sexes suffered in different places." 

The story of St. Alban's martyrdom was fully believed 
at Verulamium (St. Albans) in 429.^ A century later 
it was narrated by Gildas and it is alluded to by For- 
tunatus 2 in a line which Bede quotes. 

Although the story, as given by Bede, has obviously 
been embellished, there seems no good reason to doubt 
the occurrence of the martyrdom. 
Con- Sozomen, writing about 443, tells of an experiment 

at^York. which Coustautius the father of Constantine is said 
to have made at York in order to discover which 
amongst the many Christian servants in his palace 
were " good men." He issued an order that those 
Christians who were prepared to sacrifice to the gods 
whom he himself worshipped might remain in his service 
and continue to enjoy their former honours, whilst 
those who were unwilling to sacrifice should be banished 
and might consider themselves fortunate if they were 
not punished. The Christians on receiving this order 
divided into two sections, some being willing to desert 
their former religion, others '' preferring the things 
which were divine to present good." Constantius then 
announced that he would treat those who had re- 
mained faithful to their God as friends and counsellors, 
whilst he banished from intercourse with him those 
who had proved to be cowards and impostors, as he 
considered that those who had readily become traitors 

^ See Haddan and Stubbs i. 6. Britannia profert.' Fortunatus, who 

2 Fortunatus, De laude virginum became bishop of Poitiers, was born 
iii. 155, ' Egregium Albanum fecunda circa 530. 


to their God would not be well disposed towards their 

At the Council of Aries, which met in 314 to discuss British 
questions raised by the Donatist schism, three British arArfes, 
bishops were present, Eborius of York, Restitutus of 
London and Adelphius of Caerleon on Usk.^ The 
record of the names of the bishops who attended the 
Council of Nicaea in 325, which is very incomplete, Nicaea, 
does not contain the name of a British representative ; 
but, in view of Constantine's connection with Britain, 
it is extremely likely that the British Church was 
represented.^ At the Council of Sardica (347), 33 Sardica, 
bishops were present from the Roman province of 
Gaul in which Britain was included, but the actual 
number of British bishops is not recorded. At the 
Council of Rimini (359), three of the British bishops and 
who were present were so poor that they accepted ^^^^" 
an allowance for their expenses offered by Constantius.* 
Gibbon states his opinion that about this time the 
British Church might have possessed 30 or 40 
bishops. The treatise written by Hilary of Poitiers 
against the Arians in preparation for this Council, 
and which was addressed to the British bishops among 
others, takes for granted that they were thoroughly 
acquainted with the various subtle points that were 
in dispute. In 363 Athanasius included the British 
Christians among those who had assented to the decrees 

1 Sozomen Hist. Eccl. i. 6. Migne Legionensium. See H. and Stubbs 
P. 0^. Ixvii. col. 871. The story occurs i. 7: Bright, Bingham, lingard and 
also in Eusebius, Vita Gonstantii i. 16, others would read Lindensium, t.e. 
415. Lincoln. 

2 The last is described as de civitate ^ Constantine invited awaprax^Oep 
Colonia Londinensium. The last toi>s iTrtaKdirovs. 

word is perhaps a corruption of * See Sulpicius Severus ii. 41. 


of the Council of Nicsea/ a statement which suggests 

that Gildas and Bede, who adopted the opinion of 

Gildas, greatly exaggerated the influence of Arianism 

in Britain.^ 

state- Chrysostom says that the " British isles have felt 

chTy! ^^ the power of the Word " and that their beUef did not 

sostom, differ from that of the Christians of Constantinople.^ 

and Jerome, writing about 395, says that Britain " worships 

the same Christ and that British pilgrims were to be 

met with in Palestine."* Victricius bishop of Rouen 

is said to have visited Britain in 896 at the request of 

the North Italian Bishops. ^ 

British Several references occur which suggest that it was 

at^Jem-^^ commou f or British Christians, early in the fifth century, 

saiem. ^^ make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Thus Theodoret, 

writing about 440, and referring to the year 423, says 

that " there came (to visit Symeon Stylites near An- 

tioch) many who dwelt in the extreme West, Spaniards, 

Britons and Gauls." ^ 

Peiagius. At the beginning of the fifth century Pelagius,' 

whom Jerome « calls " that big dog of Albion," and 

to whom Augustine refers as " the Briton," ^ propounded 

his doctrine of free will which involved a denial of 

" original sin." Dr. Bright says of him, " It is right 

1 Athanasius Ep. ad Jovian 2. ^ Theodoret, Philoth. xxvi. : see 

2 See Bright, Early Eng. Ch. Hist. Haddan and Stubbs 1. 4. 

p. 13. '^ The word peiagius, " of the sea," 

3 Chrysostom, Quod Chrisius sit has by some been identified with the 
Deus 12 : Horn, in Princip. Act. Welsh word Morgan, which has the 
iii. 1. same meaning. Bury suggests that 

* Jerome Ep. 146, 1: 46, 10: Peiagius was an Irishman and that 

58,3. his name = Muirchu, i.e. "horned of 

5 "Possibly on a mission to quell the sea." See Hermathena, xxx. p. 

Arianism Hke that of Germanus to 26 ff. 

quell Pelagianism." H. and Stubbs, ^ Jerome in Jerem. i. 3 praef. 

vol. ii. Pt. i. p. xxi. ^ Augustine, Ep, 186, 1. 


to remember that he had in his own way a zeal for 
God, a grave indignation against the inertness of 
many professing Christians who pleaded their weakness 
as an excuse for not striving after sanctity." ^ The 
controversy raised by Pelagius does not come within 
the scope of our subject except in so far as it affected 
the further evangelization of Britain. Pelagius him- 
self left Britain in early life and apparently did not 
return. His doctrine was spread in Britain by Agricola 
the son of a British bishop named Severianus who, 
according to Bede, " foully stained with pollution the 
faith of the Britons." ^ 

In 429 two bishops from Gaul, Germanus of Auxerre Germanus 
and Lupus of Troye's, were sent over to Britain " to Lupus. 
confirm the belief in celestial grace." 

" The malevolent force of demons, who grudged 
that such and so great men should proceed to recover 
the salvation of the peoples,"^ raised a storm in the 
English Channel which was quelled by the prayers 
of Germanus, and on their arrival in England " they 
preached in churches and even in streets and fields 
and in the open country." ^ 

A number of miracles are alleged by Constantius, 
the biographer of Germanus, to have accompanied 
their preaching, which was extended to Wales,^ and 

1 Early Eng. Gh. Hist. p. 15. he writes, Agricola Pelagianus, Severi- 

2 Hist Ecd. i. 17. Prosper of ani Pelagiani episcopi ecclesias, Bri- 
Aquitaine thus describes the teaching tanniae dogmatis sui insinuatione 
of Pelagius, corrupit (id. p. 400 f.) 

Dogma quod antiqui satiatum felle ^ Ibid. 

draconis, * Ibid. See also Life of Germanus 

Pestif ero vomuit coluber sermone by Constantius i. 23. 

Britannus. 5 j^^p ^ reference to the ' Alleluia 

{Ghron. i. 399). Referring to the in- victory ' won by Germanus in Wales 

troduction of Pelagianisminto Britain, see p. 153. There are two churches in 


perhaps to Cornwall. Germanus paid a second visit 
to Britain in 447, and in the following year, according 
to Bede, '' he migrated to Christ." 

In 409 the last of the Roman troops left Britain 
and the bishops were left to defend themselves as best 
The they could against their Saxon invaders. The Saxon 

invasions, pirates, to quote the language of a contemporary Gallic 
bishop, were " the most truculent of all enemies " and 
made it a point of religion " to torture their captives 
rather than to pat them to ransom " and to sacrifice 
the tenth part ot them to their gods.^ 

About the middle of the fifth century the Saxon 
raids developed into a regular plan of conquest. To 
quote the description of Bede, which is founded on that 
given by Gildas : '' The impious victor . . . continued 
depopulating all the . . . cities and fields from the 
Eastern sea to the Western, with no one to oppose 
the conflagration, and overran almost all the surface 
Massacres of the perishing island. . . . Everywhere priests were 
Chris? ^^ slain among the altars ; the prelates and the people, 
without any regard to rank, were destroyed by fire 
and sword, nor were there any to give sepulture to 
those who were cruelly slain. Some of the miserable 
remnant were caught and slaughtered in heaps upon 
the mountains, others, outworn by famine, came forth 
and surrendered themselves to the enemy for the sake 

Glamorganshire dedicated to Lupus roses and lilies in the meadow of the 

under the Welsh name of Bleiddian church of Aledh (St. German's). The 

(wolf cub), and there are churches Abbey of Selby in Yorkshire was also 

dedicated to Germanus both in Wales dedicatedtohimandclaimed to possess 

and Cornwall. A missa of S. Germanus one of his figures, 

quoted by Haddan and Stubbs i. 696, ^ Sidonius Apollinaris Ep. viii. 

states that Germanus sent by Pope 6 ; see Milman's Latin Christianity, 

Gregory shone forth as a lantern and i. 332. 
pillar to Cornwall, and bloomed like 



of receiving supplies of sustenance, dooming themselves 
to undergo perpetual slavery if they were not imme- 
diately slaughtered ; others in grief sought countries 
beyond the sea, others abiding in their own country 
led in fear a miserable life among the mountains, or 
woods, or lofty rocks with minds always full of mis- 
trust." ^ If this description be accepted as true, it 
seems hard on the Christian Britons that Bede should 
go on to urge it as a ground of reproach that " they 
never committed the word of the faith by preaching 
to the nation of Saxons or Angles inhabiting Britain 
together with themselves." ^ 

How great were the prejudices which British mission- 
aries would have had to overcome in any attempts that 
they might have made to evangelize the Saxons may 
be inferred from the words of Aldhelm of Malmesbury, 
written soon after 700. He writes : " The people on British 
the other side the Severn had such a horror of com- saxons.^ 
munication with the West Saxon Christians that they 
would not pray in the same church with them, or sit 
at the same table. If a Saxon left anything at a meal, 
the Briton threw it to dogs and swine. Before a 
Briton would condescend to use a dish or a bottle that 
had been used by a Saxon it must be rubbed with sand 
or pin-ified with fire. The Briton would not give the 
Saxon the salutation or the kiss of peace. If a Saxon 
went to hve across the Severn, the Britons would hold 
no communication with him till he had been made 
to endure a penance of forty days." If these were 
the feelings entertained by the Britons towards the 
Saxons after the latter had become Christians, we can 

1 Hist. Eccl. i. 15. 2 j^. i. 22. 


imagine what they would have felt towards those of them 
who were still heathen. 
Fastidius Fastidius, a British bishop who wrote between 420 
mission- and 450, at least recognized the obligation of those 
gation.^ who Were Christians to commend their faith to the 
heathen by their lives. Thus he wrote : '' It is the 
will of God that His people should be holy, and free 
from all stain of unrighteousness and iniquity, that 
they should be so righteous, so pious, so pure, so un- 
spotted, so single-hearted, that the heathen should find 
in them no fault, but should say in wonder, Blessed 
is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people 
whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance."^ 
Referring to the importance of right action, as com- 
pared with right thinking, he wrote, in words which 
compare favourably with much that was then being 
written elsewhere, " We should understand that men 
are to be condemned not because of unbelief but 
because of lack of good works " . . . " unless a man 
is just he hath no life " . . . " let no one judge himself 
to be a Christian who does not follow the teaching of 
Christ, and imitate His example." ^ 

Amongst the signatures of those present at the 
Council of Tours in 461 occur the words, " I, Mansuetus, 
bishop of the Britons was present and subscribed." 
He was probably a bishop in Brittany.^ 
Capture of Loudou was capturcd by the Saxons about 568 and 
ses! ^''' Theonus its bishop, taking with him those of the clergy 
who had survived, retired to Wales. Thadioc, bishop 
of York, fled at about the same time. 

1 Fastidius, De vita Christiana, ^ Id. cap. xiii., xiv. 

cap. ix. ; see Migne P. L. L. col. ^ See Labb. iv. 1053 ; also H. and 

383 ff. S. vol. ii. Pt. i. p. 72 f. 


If the description given by Gildas of the character Giidas n 
of the British clergy during the latter part of the sixth fiergy^ 
century contains any large measure of truth, there is 
little reason for surprise that the Britons failed to act 
as missionaries to the Saxons. 

Writing in rhetorical and probably exaggerated 
language, he gives a mournful account of the character 
of the clergy working both in England and Wales. 
He says " Britain hath priests, but they are unwise : 
very many that minister, but they are impudent : clerks 
it hath, but they are deceitful raveners : pastors, as they 
are called, but rather wolves prepared for the slaughter 
of souls, for they provide not for the good of the common 
people, but covet rather the gluttony of their own 
bellies, possessing the houses of the church, but obtain- 
ing them for filthy lucre's sake : instructing the laity, 
but showing withal most depraved examples, vices and 
evil manners."! From this period of calamity and 
strife there has come down to us " shining through a 
golden mist of fable " the name of Arthur, who, accord- King 
ing to the tradition ^ embodied in the "Idylls of the ^''^^''''* 
King," did much "to break the heathen and uphold 
the Christ." In the fight on Badon Hill, according 
to a Welsh legend, " Arthur bore the cross of our Lord 
Jesus Christ three days and three nights on his shoulders, 
and the Britons were conquerors." ^ This battle, the 

1 Epistola c. 66. Migne P. L. Ixix. as historical ; see H. and Stiibbs, i. 

Gildas, the author of De excidio Brit- p. 156. 

anni(B and of an Epistle addressed to ^ Arthur is known to history as a 

the Britons, was born about 516 and petty prince in Devonshire. The 

died about 570. The first fife of him modern conception of him first appears 

was written by a monk of Ruys in in the writings of Nennius in the 9th 

the 10th or 11th century and a later century. 

life by Caradoc of Llancarvan in the ^ Annates Camhrice An. 516. 

12th century. Neither can be regarded 


scene of which is probably to be placed in Dorset, took 
place about 520, and checked the advance of the English 
for several years. 
Export of Evidence is available from several sources to show 
from^ that at the end of the sixth century Jewish slave- dealers 
Britain. ^^^.^ -^^ ^j^^ habit of Selling in Italy and elsewhere slaves 
obtained from Gaul or Britain. In a letter which 
Gregory wrote to a priest in Gaul named Candidus in 
595, he bids him to spend some money due to himself 
in redeeming English slaves who might afterwards be 
trained to become monks. He further expresses a wish 
that these youths should be sent to Rome accompanied 
by a priest who was to baptize them in case they 
became ill and were likely to die.^ The well-known 
fact of the existence of this trade may possibly have 
given rise to the story of the English boys who are said 
Gregory to havc attracted the attention of Gregory in the 
English market-place at Rome. The monk of Whitby in his 
^^y®* Lije of Gregory is perhaps the earliest authority for 
the story. He writes that it was reported among the 
faithful that whilst Benedict was Pope there arrived 
at Rome certain " of our nation, with fair complexions 
and flaxen hair," whom, when Gregory heard of them, 
he expressed a desire to see. On seeing them he asked 
to what nation they belonged and being told that they 
were Angli, he remarked " Angeli Dei " (angels of 
God). In reply to his enquiry " Who is your king ? " 
they said " Aelli," whereupon he replied "Alleluia, 
laus enim Dei esse debet illic " (Alleluia, for the praise 
of God ought to be heard there). Lastly he enquired 
to what tribe they belonged and receiving the answer 

1 Ef. vi. 7. Migne Ixxvii. col. 799. 


" Deire," he said, " De ira Dei confugientes ad fidem " 
(fleeing from the wrath of God to the faith). Gregory 
then asked and obtained Benedict's permission to go 
as a missionary to England, but, as soon as he had 
started on his journey, the people of Rome clamoured 
for his return and messengers were sent to recall him. 
Paul the Deacon and Bede tell the same story but with 
chronological and other variations.^ In Bede's story 
the boys are described as slaves. The Canterbury 
monk Thorn adds that they were three in number.^ 
The fact that in Gregory's letters he always refers to 
the English people as Angles and never as Saxons 
suggests that those whom he had seen in Rome had 
come from North Britain and were perhaps the results 
of a war between Northumbria and Kent.^ 

For the mission of St. Augustine to England our Sources 
chief source of information is Bede's History, which matSi'^^^ 
was written not later than 731, that is about 130 years 
after the time of Augustine. This is the earliest formal 
narrative, but the letters of Pope Gregory are of greater 
historical value as they provide a contemporary record 
of the events to which they refer. Later authorities 
are the three monks of Canterbury, GosceKn ^ {d. 1098), 
WiUiam Thorn ^ {circ. 1397), and Thomas Elmham^ 

1 The Whitby monk puts the inci- English boys to be trained as 

dent in the time of Benedict I., when Christians. 

Gregory was the Prefect of Rome. ^ See Augustine the Missionary, 

Paul the Deacon puts it in the time Howorth, p. 14. 

of Pope Pelagius. * His Ufe is included in the Acta 

^ Hauck (in the Realencyclopddie Sanctorum for May 26. 

i. p. 520) and Bassenge {Die Sendung ^ Goscelin, Thorn and Elmham 

Augustins, p. 17) suggest that the were all inmates of St. Augustine's 

story of these slave boys is unhis- monastery. Thorn derived much of 

torical and was suggested by Gre- his information from the Chronicle of 

gory's letter to Candidus referred Sprott which is lost. Elmham adds 

to above regarding the purchase of little to the information given by Thorn 


(1414). The traditions preserved by these later writers 
can, however, only be received with the greatest 

It is interesting to recall the fact that the sending 
forth of Augustine occurred only three years after the 
siege of Rome by the Lombards and at a time when 
these were still engaged in ravaging Tuscany and 
Umbria. It must have required a large measure of 
faith to plan so distant a spiritual campaign whilst 
war was raging near to the walls of Rome. More- 
over to reach Gaul on his way to Britain Augus- 
tine and his companions must have traversed districts 
recently devastated by the Lombards. 
st.Augiis- Augustine, before his selection by Pope Gregory as 
*'''^' the leader of the mission to Britain, had been Prior 
of St. Andrew's monastery on the Coehan hill in Rome, 
and his companions were monks from the same mona- 
stery. Leaving Rome in the spring of 596 they appa- 
rently went by sea to Lerins, and thence, via Marseilles, 
to Aix. Here, says Bede, " they were seized with a 
sluggish fear and began to think of returning home, 
rather than proceed to a barbarous, fierce, and un- 
believing nation, to whose very language they were 
strangers, and this with one consent they decided to 
be the safer course." ^ They accordingly sent back 
Augustine to Rome that " he might by humble entreaty 
obtain of the holy Gregory that they should not be 
compelled to undertake so perilous, laborious and 
uncertain a journey." ^ 
Gregory's The letter which Gregory wrote to them in reply is 
Au^us^-"" worthy of a place in missionary annals. It reads : 

*'^^' 1 Hist Eccl. I 23. 2 Id. 


" Gregory the servant of the servants of God to the 
servants of our Lord. Forasmuch as it had been 
better not to begin good things, than when they are 
begun to entertain the thought of retiring from them ; 
it behoves you, my most beloved sons, to aceompUsh 
the good work which, by the help of the Lord, ye have 
undertaken. Let not therefore the toil of the journey, 
nor the tongues of evil- speaking men, deter you, but 
with all earnestness and zeal perform that which by 
God's direction ye have undertaken, knowing that 
great labour will be followed by the greater glory of 
an eternal reward. . . . May Almighty God protect 
you with His grace and grant that in the heavenly 
country I may see the fruit of your labour ; inasmuch 
as, though I cannot labour with you, I shall partake 
in the joy of the reward, because I desire to labour." ^ 
This letter, which Augustine took back to his com- Joumey 
panions, helped to revive their courage and they pro- resumed"^ 
ceeded once more on their way. 

One of the letters of introduction which Augustine 
brought with him from Rome was addressed to Queen 
Brunhild at Orleans. From this letter of Gregory we 
gather that the English people prior to the time of 
Augustine were anxious to be converted and that appli- 
cations for help had been made in vain to neighbouring 
priests. 2 

The desire to which Gregory refers was probably Bishop 
created by the presence of Bishop Liudhard, who had ^ndja "^"^ 
come over from Gaul as chaplain to Bertha on the ^^^*^*- 
occasion of her marriage with King Ethelbert. This 

1 Ep. vi. 51. Migne P. L. Ixxvii. ^ j^^ ^j 59 Mjgne P. L. Ixxvii. 

col. 836. col. 842 f. 


marriage apparently occurred some considerable time 
before 597, as Gregory in his subsequent letter to 
Bertha (601), after congratulating her on the conversion 
of her husband, remarks that she ought " some time 
ago " to have bent his mind in the direction of the 
Christian faith.^ 

The authority of the '^most powerful" King Ethel- 

bert extended, according to Bede, as far north as the 

Humber, his principal residence being at Canterbury 


Arrival of The missionaries having spent the winter of 596 in 

ai^T^n France, landed soon after Easter 597 in the " Island of 

Britain. Thauct," probably at or near Richborough.^ The 

forty members of their party included some interpreters 

whom they had obtained in France. Having sent 

forward to King Ethelbert one of these interpreters to 

tell him of the " joyful message " which they had 

brought, they were ordered by him to remain where 

they were. Some days later the King came to see 

Interview them. The interview took place in the open air as the 

Ethelbert. King feared lest, in the event of his entering a house, 

" if they possessed any magical powers, they might 

deceive and so overcome him." After hearing their 

message the King replied, " Your words and promises 

1 Ep. xi. 29. H. and Stubbs p. 17. Collins suggests that Augustine 
Howorth {St. Aug. of C. p. 39 f.) landed at Richborough and that 
and Hauck {Real Ency. i. 520) argue this was then an island at high tide 
that the marriage had but recently and accounted to be part of Thanet. 
taken place. Bp. Collins maintained {The Beginnings of Eng. Christianity, 
that it took place between 571 and p. 182.) For a detailed discussion of 
573 {The Beginnings of Eng. Chris- the evidence available relating to the 
tianity, p. 180). spot at which St. Augustine landed 

2 A commemorative cross has been see Dissertation by T. M. Hughes 
erected near Ebbsfleet, but the evi- in Mason's The Mission of St. Angus- 
dence for this site is comparatively tine, pp. 209-234. 

modern. See Howorth, p. 60. Bp. 

Plate 1. 


in the 7*^ Century 

George Philip &■ Son, Ltd/if 
Lonfirmans, Green & Cp., London, New York. Bombay, Calcutta & Madras. 

Toface page 102 


are fair, bat as they are new and uncertain I cannot, 
in order to assent to them, abandon the customs which, 
together with the whole EngUsh nation, I have for so 
long a time observed ; but because ye have come 
hither from afar, and as I clearly perceive desire to 
impart to us those things which ye believe to be true 
and excellent, we will not molest you but give you 
kindly entertainment . . . nor do we forbid you to 
gain as many as ye can to a belief in your religion by 
your preaching." ^ In response to the invitation of 
the King, Augustine and his companions proceeded to 
Canterbm-y, distant about ten miles, and entered it Arrival 
by the road that passes St. Martin's Church, which had bury^^ ^^ 
perhaps been built by Bishop Liudhard and which 
was now placed at their disposal.^ As the procession 
entered Canterbury carrying a silver cross as a standard 
and a picture of our Saviour '' painted on a panel," 
the monks chanted the words, '' We beseech Thee, 
Lord, in all Thy compassion that Thy wrath and Thine 
anger may be turned away from this city and from Thy 
holy House, for we have sinned. Alleluia." ^ Soon 
after their establishment on tho. site of what afterwards 
became St. Augustine's monastery their teaching, and 
still more their prayers and self-denying life, began to 
produce results. Thus Bede writes : " Several believed Baptism 
and were baptized, admiring the simplicity of their bert ^ 
innocent life and the sweetness of their heavenly 
doctrine." * Nor was it long before the king professed 
a desire to be baptized, his conversion having probably 
been hastened by the influence exerted upon him by 

^ Bede i. 25. church points to the fact that Bishop 

2 Ho worth suggests that their Liudhard was aheady dead, 
taking immediate possession of the ^ Bede i. 25. * Id. i. 26. 


his wife.^ As the result of his baptism " greater num- 
bers began daily to come together to hear the word 
and, forsaking their heathen rites, to join themselves 
by believing to the unity of the holy Church of Christ." 
Then follows a statement which distinguishes the 
action of Ethelbert from that of almost every other 
royal convert in Europe. '' Their conversion," writes 
Bede, " the King is said to have encouraged, but so 
far only that he compelled no one to embrace Chris- 
tianity, but only embraced with a closer affection those 
who believed in being heirs with himself of the heavenly 
kingdom. For he had learned from his instructors 
and those who were the instruments of his salvation 
that the service of Christ ought to be voluntary and not 
compulsory." ^ How different would have been the 
subsequent religious history of the continent of Europe 
had the principles enunciated in these words been 
generally accepted and followed. 
Consecra- In the autumu of 597, i.e. soon after the baptism of 
Augus- Ethelbert, Augustine appUed for consecration to the 
tine. representatives of the Gallic Church and was consecrated 
a bishop at Aries on November 16. His return to 
England soon afterwards was followed by the baptism 
of a large number of King Ethelbert's subjects. Thus 
Letter to Gregory writing to Eulogius the patriarch of Alexandria 
Euiogius. .^ j^j^ ggg^ ^^^ referring, no doubt, to reports sent 

to him by Augustine, says " While the nation of the 
Anglians placed in a corner of the world, has hitherto 
remained in unbelief, worshipping stocks and stones, 
I determined (it was God who prompted me), by the aid 

1 Bassenge maintains that the bap- an earher date see The Mission of St. 
tism of Ethelbert was as late as 601 Augustine by Mason, p. 189 ff. 
or 602. For argument in favour of ^ Bede i. 26. 


of your prayers, to send to it a monk of my own mona- 
stery for the pm'pose of preaching, and he having by my 
leave, been made a bishop by the bishops of Germany,^ 
has proceeded also with their encouragement to the end 
of the world, to the aforesaid nation. . . . Moreover 
at the solemnity of the Lord's Nativity . . . more 
than ten thousand Anglians are reported to have 10,000 
been baptized by the same our brother and fellow- 
bishop." 2 According to Goscelin, who wrote in the 
eleventh century, these baptisms took place in the 
River Swale.^ 

In 598 Augustine sent a letter to Gregory asking him Augus- 
for advice relating to liturgical questions, and the laws questions. 
concerning marriage and other matters.^ Together 
with his reply, which was dated June 22, 601,^ Gregory 
sent as additional workers Mellitus, Justus, Paulinus 
and Rufinianus, who became respectively bishops of 
London, Rochester and York, and abbot of St. Augus- 
tine's monastery. 

From a missionary standpoint the most important G^regory's 

•^ ^ ^ ^ ^ replies. 

of the pronouncements contained in Gregory's letter 
relates to the question. How far is it lawful to frame 
a new form of liturgy with a view to meeting the needs 
of a race or country which has come to constitute a 
new Branch of the Christian Church ? This is a ques- 

^ Aries was in the province of the * The answers to Augustine's ques- * 

Burgundians, who were of Germanic tions are regarded as spurious by 

origin. Duchesne {Origines du Quite Chritien, 

2 Ejip. viii. 29 or 30. p. 94), but nearly all other authorities 

^ It is possible that Goscelin is con- have accepted them as genuine. For 

fusing these baptisms with those evidence in support of their genuine- 

which Bade describes as taking place ness see The Mission of St. Augustine 

in the R. Swale in Yorkshire after the by Mason, vi.-ix. 

preaching of Paulinus. See Bede, ^ The long delay is apparently to 

ii. 14. be attributed to the illness of Gregory. 


tion which has been raised, and which urgently needs to 
be answered, in many parts of the mission-field to-day. 
We can imagine no more satisfactory statement of the 
underlying principle that must determine the answer 
to be given in any individual case than that enunciated 
An by Gregory. After saying that " Things are not to 

liturgy, be cherished for the sake of places, but places for the 
sake of good things," he wrote, " From all the several 
Churches, therefore, select the things which are pious 
and religious and right, and gather them as it were 
into a bundle and store them in the mind of the English 
to form a Use." ^ 

Although Augustine did not avail himself to any 
great extent of the liberty which was offered to him, 
the authoritative statement that such liberty is appro- 
priate to a church which had come newly into existence 
is of great significance. 

Augustine's questions as a whole have no special 
interest from a missionary standpoint. " They illus- 
trate," says Dr. Bright, " his monkish inexperience 
of pastoral administration, and also, perhaps, indicate 
a certain want of elevation of character : . . . some of 
them give the notion of a mind cramped by long seclu- 
sion and somewhat helpless when set to act in a wide 
sphere. Other questions may occur to us, as naturally 
arising in presence of spiritual interests and require- 
ments so vast and so absorbing, but Augustine 
does not propound them. One feels a sort of chill, 
a sensation akin to disappointment in reading of his 
' difficulties.' " 2 

In a later letter addressed to Mellitus in 601 Gregory 

1 Epj). i. 43. 2 Early Eng. Ch. Hist p. 66. 


enunciates a principle of far-reaching importance from 
a missionary standpoint. He writes : " When Almighty 
God shall bring you to our most reverend brother 
Bishop Augustine, tell him what I have long been 
turning over in my thoughts in regard to the EngUsh, 
namely that the temples of the idols in that nation idol 
ought by no means to be destroyed, but let the idols noTto^L 
that are in them be destroyed ; let holy water be made ^^^^^^y^^- 
and sprinkled in these temples, let altars be made and 
reKcs placed there. For if these temples have been 
well built they ought to be converted from the worship 
of devils to the service of the true God, so that the 
nation seeing that its temples are not destroyed may 
remove error from their hearts, and knowing and 
adoring the true God may the more famiharly resort 
to the places to which they have been accustomed. 
And because they are accustomed to kill many oxen Retention 
in sacrificing to demons, some solemnity must be given fltfvaK "" 
them in exchange on this account ; — say that on the 
day of dedication or birthday {i.e. death) of holy martyrs 
whose rehcs are there deposited they may make for 
themselves huts out of the boughs of trees around those 
chiu'ches which have been transformed from temples, 
and may celebrate the solemnity with reKgious feasting : 
while they no longer offer beasts to the devil, they may 
kill them to the praise of God for their own eating 
... to the end that whilst some pleasures are out- 
wardly permitted them, they may the more easily con- 
sent to the inward (divine) pleasures. For there is no 
doubt that it is impossible to efface everything at once 
from their obdurate minds, for the man who strives 
to ascend to the highest place rises by degrees or steps 


and not by leaps." ^ The question which Gregory 
here discusses, viz. How far heathen customs and 
usages may be retained in order to faciHtate the accept- 
ance of the Christian reHgion by pagans, is one of the 
most difficult that missionaries in all ages have been 
called on to answer. Experience has shown that the 
right answer to give in any particular case must depend 
upon many different circumstances, and in particular 
upon the depth of the conviction which characterizes 
the converts from paganism in any given district or 
More In a letter dated June 22, 601, Gregory suggests to 

beacon- ^ Augustiuc that he should consecrate a bishop of York 
secrated. ^j^^ should bccomc an archbishop with twelve suffragans, 
whilst he, Augustine, should be Archbishop of London. 
He further suggests that after the death of Augustine 
the Archbishops of London and York should take pre- 
cedence according to the dates of their ordination. 
It is interesting to note that London, not Canterbury, 
was intended by Gregory to be the seat of the arch- 
bishop of the Southern Province. 
Confer- lu 602 or 603, " with the assistance of Ethelbert," 
B^itisT Augustine brought about a conference between himself 
bishops. ^^^ some British bishops and others which met at 

^ Bede i. 30. had previously been associated with 

2 St. Patrick appears to have held idolatry {Vita Adamn. vol. ii. 11). 
views similar to those propounded by In a letter bearing the same date 

Gregory. Thus Stokes writes : " The addressed to King Ethelbert (Bede i. 

Irish believed that St. Patrick, finding 32) Gregory exhorts the king to 

three pillar stones which were con- overthrow the structures of the idol 

nected with Irish paganism, did not temples. It is possible this letter was 

overthrow them, but inscribed on written earlier than that to Augustine, 

them the names * Jesus, Soter, Sal- or Gregory may be here referring 

vator ' " {Tripartite Life i. 107). to some special temples and not 

Columba is said to have blessed enunciating a general rule as in the 

and made holy a Pictish well that letter to Melhtus. 


Augustine's oak, the site of which is uncertain.^ A first 
conference which was unproductive of result was followed 
by a second at which seven Welsh bishops were present, 
who were not diocesan bishops but representatives from 
some of the principal monasteries. According to Bede 
the Welsh representatives who had been selected to 
attend the second conference " repaired first to a certain 
holy and prudent man, who was wont to live the life of 
a hermit amongst them, to consult with him whether 
at the preaching of Augustine they ought to abandon 
their own traditions. He replied : ' If he is a man of 
God, follow him.' ' And how can we prove this ? ' 
they said. He answered, ' The Lord says, " Take my 
yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly 
in heart." If then Augustine is meek and lowly in 
heart, it is to be believed that he himself bears the 
yoke of Christ and that he offers it to you to bear. But 
if he is harsh and proud it is evident that he is not of 
God and what he says is not to be regarded by you.' 
' And how shall we discern this ? ' they said again. 
' Contrive,' he said, ' that he may arrive first at the 
place of the synod and if, when you approach, he rise 
up to meet you, listen to him submissively knowing that 
he is a servant of Christ ; if on the other hand he despise 
you and is unwiUing to rise in your presence though 
you are more in number, let him also be despised by 
you.' " 2 Augustine's failure to rise on the approach of 
the Welsh bishops helped, according to Bede, to account 
for the refusal of the Welsh to accept Augustine's 

1 It has frequently been identified favour of " The Oak " in Down 
with Aust on the Severn, opposite Ampney near Cricklade. 
Chepstow. Bp. Browne argues in ^ Bede ii. 2. 


The chief representative of the Welsh appears to 
have been Dinoot, the abbot of Bangor. The discus- 
sions which ensued related to the keeping of Easter 
and methods of tonsure and have no direct interest 
for the student of Missions. It is true that, according 
to Bede, one of the objects of the conference was to 
render possible a common effort on the part of the 
Britons and Saxons to evangelize the heathen, but it 
does not appear that this object was discussed, and the 
offer to join in a united missionary campaign was made 
conditional upon the acceptance by the Britons of 
Augustine's authority. When the Welsh representa- 
tives finally refused to recognize Augustine as arch- 
bishop, or to accept his demands for a change in their 
ecclesiastical customs, he withdrew to Canterbury. 
Before doing so, says Bede, " the man of God, Augastine, 
is said in a threatening manner to have predicted that 
if they would not accept peace with their brethren 
they should accept war at the hands of their enemies, 
and if they were unwilling to preach the word of life 
to the English nation they should suffer vengeance 
of death by their hands." ^ This prophecy, says 
Bede, was fulfilled by the massacre {circ. 616) of 1200 
monks belonging to the monastery of Bangor. 
Consecra- In 604 " Augustiuc ordaiucd two bishops, Mellitus and 
Meiiitus Justus, to prcach to the province of the East Saxons 
Justus, who are divided from Kent by the river Thames and 
border on the Eastern Sea. . . . When this province," 
continues Bede, " also received the word of truth by 
the preaching of Mellitus, King Ethelbert built the 
church of St. Paul in the city of London where he and 

1 Bede ii. 2. 


his successors should have their episcopal see. As for 
Justus, Augustine ordained him bishop in Kent at the 
city which the English nation named Hrofaecaestir 
(Rochester) from one that was formerly the chief man 
of it called Hrof."i 

Augustine died on May 26, 604,^ having previously Death of 
consecrated Laurentius as his successor. dnf^^ 

Although the name of St. Augustine will always be His char- 
had in honour as that of the missionary by whose ^^^rk.^'"'^ 
labours the first effective Mission to the Saxons was 
inaugurated, a dispassionate examination of his char- 
acter and work forces us to admit that he was a man 
who possessed few of the quahfications of which the 
ideal missionary has need. Three of the qualifications 
necessary for a successful missionary are, power of 
initiation, courage and humihty. His lack of the 
first is illustrated by the fact that his missionary 
campaign was undertaken not on his own initiative, 
but at the instigation and command of a superior 
authority, and by his letter (the only writing of his which 
has been preserved) in which he virtually admits his 
inabihty to decide comparatively trivial points such 
as all pioneer missionaries are called upon to decide. 
His lack of courage is shown by the desire which he 
evinced to abandon the enterprise altogether when 
the difficulties and dangers which it would involve 
had become apparent. His last and greatest weakness, 
viz. a lack of humility and of power to sympathize 
with those who disagreed with his opinions, is 
shown by his treatment of the Welsh bishops and 

1 Bede ii. 3. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle gives 614, an 

2 So Haddan and Stubbs. Bright impossible date, 
gives 605 as the probable year. The 


his failure to establish any working agreement with 

Sir Henry Howorth writes : " The best that can be 
said of Augustine is that he was a commonplace man, 
with good motives and high standards, set to do a 
work much beyond his capacity and for which he had 
had a very indifferent training. The Church which he 
planted was a plant with a feeble constitution from 
the first, and it needed a more vigorous personage, 
who was also a greater scholar and a bigger man, to 
set it going again on a more promising journey. He 
presently came and his name was Theodore." ^ Whilst, 
however, we are constrained to admit that Augustine 
lacked important missionary qualifications, we grate- 
fully remember that he possessed the most important 
of all, viz. personal piety. He led a devout and self- 
denying life and left the remembrance of such a life as 
a precious heritage to the English Church. 

Thomas Fuller writes concerning him, '' Because 
the beginnings of things are of greatest consequence, 
we commend his pains, condemn his pride, allow his 
life, approve his learning, admire his miracles, admit 
the foundation of his doctrine, Jesus Christ, but refuse 
the hay and stubble he built thereon." ^ 

" Whatever were his shortcomings," says Bishop 
Browne, " Augustine of Canterbury was a good man, 
a devout and laborious Christian worker who could, 
and did, face threatening difficulties and accept serious 
risks in loyalty to a sacred call ; a missionary whose 
daily conduct was a recommendation of his preaching, 
. . . who as archbishop did his duty, as he read 

1 St. Augustine of Canterbury, p. 197. ^ The Church History of Britain, i. 170. 


it, with all his might, if not without mistakes or 

Before his death Augustine had consecrated Laurence Arch- 
as his successor and, according to Bede, he " having Laurence. 
obtained the rank of archbishop strove both by the 
frequent utterance of holy exhortation and the continual 
example of pious labour (operatio) to extend the founda- 
tions of the church which he had seen nobly laid and to 
carry up its fabric to the due height." 

Soon after his consecration Laurence, writing in 
his own name and that of the two other Italian bishops, 
addressed an appeal to the bishops in Ireland in the His appeal 
hope of promoting union and co-operation. The chief in Ireland! 
point of controversy which kept the two churches 
apart and which prevented any combined missionary 
enterprise was the fixing of the date for keeping Easter.^ 
How bitter were the feelings engendered by this con- 
troversy may be gathered from the statement of Arch- 
bishop Laurence concerning an Irish bishop who 
had come on a visit to Britain from the monastery 
of Bangor in Ireland. " Bishop Dagan," writes 
Laurence, " not only refused to eat with us, but even 
to take his repast in the same house where we were 
entertained." ^ 

King Ethelbert died in 616 after reigning for 56 Death of 
years. His son Eadbald " refused to embrace the eie.^ ^^ ' 
faith of Christ " and, encouraged by his example, many 
of those who had professed to be Christians returned 

^ See above, p. 60. The best is, God, we hope, will be 

2 Bede ii. 4. Cf. Fuller, " Wliilst merciful in his sentence on men, 

the Britons accounted the Romans though passionate men be merciless 

wolves, and the Romans held the in their censures on one another," 

Britons to be goats, what bopame of i. p. 174 f. 

Christ's little flock of sheep the whiles? 


to their former idolatrous ways. To quote the words 
of Fuller, " those whom ^thelbyrht's smiles had made 
converts, Eadbald's frowns quickly made apostates."^ 
Expui- On the death of Sabert, the Christian king of the East 

Meilitus. Saxons, his three sons openly professed idolatry, and 
when Meilitus refused to accede to their demand to 
receive " the bread of life " in the Holy Communion, 
they said to him, " If you will not comply with us in 
so small a matter as that which we ask, you cannot 
remain in our province " : and they expelled him and 
commanded that he and his followers should depart 
from their kingdom.^ 
Extent of There is no good evidence to show that Augustine 
tine's^ accomplished, or even attempted, any missionary enter- 
mfluence. pj.jgg outsidc the limits of the present county of Kent. 
Thorn writing in the fourteenth century says that 
" he sowed the seed of God's word everywhere through- 
out the whole land of the English," traveUing always 
on foot, and Goscelin in his life of Augustine repre- 
sents him as working miracles at York, and as causing 
tails to grow on the backs of some peasants who 
had insulted him in Dorsetshire, and even as visiting 
Colman " King of Ireland " and baptizing the Irish 
saint Livinus, but these traditions have no historic 
Conver- Archbishop Laurence, although he made ready to 
^g^^ flee to Gaul, did not carry out his intention. The ex- 
Eadbaid. planatiou, given by Bede, is that on the night previous 
to his intended departure the Apostle Peter appeared 
to him and having scourged him severely demanded 
" why he was forsaking the flock which he had him- 

M. p. 175. ^Bede ii. 5. 


self entrusted to him, or to what pastor he was leaving 
the sheep of Christ placed as they were in the midst of 
wolves." 1 In the morning the archbishop appeared 
in the presence of the king and showed him the wounds 
which St. Peter had inflicted. The king '' much 
frightened abjured the worship of idols, renounced 
his unlawful marriage, embraced the faith of Christ, 
and having been baptized strove to promote the affairs 
of the Church to the utmost of his power." ^ 

Assuming the latter part of this story to be true, we 
can only suppose that the archbishop resorted to a 
pious fraud in order to impress the king and to induce 
him to abandon his idolatry.^ Whatever wfts the occa- 
sion of the king's conversion, it would appear that he 
became from this time an ardent supporter of the 
Christian religion. Soon afterwards he sent to Gaul 
to recall Justus and Mellitus who, however, waited a 
year before obeying his summons. Justus eventually Bishop 
returned to Rochester, but " the Londoners would not Roch!^* 
receive Bishop Mellitus, choosing rather to be under ^®*^^* 
their idolatrous high priests." ^ In 619 Mellitus 
became archbishop of Canterbury and on his death 
in 624 he was succeeded by Justus bishop of 

The East AngUans of Norfolk and Suffolk were at Redwaid, 
this time ruled by Redwaid, who had visited Canterbury ^h^^Lt 
and had been baptized during Ethelbert's reign, but ^^^'^'^• 
on his return home " was seduced by his wife and certain 
perverse teachers " and resolved to combine the worship 

^ ii« ^- in which Laurence thought that he 

^ Id. saw the apostle. For other legends 

'^ Hook suggests that the story is of a similar character see Bright, 

the legendary exaggeration of a dream p. 108 n. ^ Bede ii. 6. 


of the Christians' God with the worship of idols. 
Accordingly ''^ in the same temple he had an altar to 
sacrifice to Christ and another small one to offer victims 
to devils." 1 In 617 while Edwin, an exiled Nor- 
thumbrian prince, was a refugee at his court, Ethelfrid 
king of Northumbria endeavoured, but without success, 
to induce Redwald to marder him : eventually in 617 
Redwald and Edwin defeated and killed Ethelfrid on 
the borders of Mercia near Retford, whereupon Edwin 
Edwin, became king of Northumbria. In 625 Edwin obtained 
North- in marriage Ethelburga a sister of King Eadbald and 
umbria. daughter of King Ethelbert. She brought with her 
Pauiinus. as her chaplain Paulinus whom Justus consecrated as 
a bishop, and whose " mind was wholly bent on bringing 
the nation to which he was going to a knowledge of the 
truth " ; and when he came into that province he 
laboured much both to prevent those who had come 
with him from falling away from the faith and to 
convert some of the pagans to the faith, if by any means 
Baptism he could do so, by his preaching." ^ The first person 
Eanfled. to be baptized at the court of Edwin was his infant 
daughter Eanfled whom he " consecrated to Christ " 
in gratitude for his deliverance from the assassin that 
had been sent by the king of the West Saxons to murder 
him. Having defeated the West Saxons in battle, 
Edwin still delayed to accept the Christian faith; " and 
being a man of natural sagacity he often sat alone by 
himself for a long time, silent as to his tongue but 
conversing much with himself in his inmost heart, 
deliberating what he should do and to which religion 
he should adhere." ^ Bede gives two letters written 

1 Bede ii. 15. ^ i^, ii, 9, 3 j^. finis. 


by Pope Boniface V to Edwin and Ethelburga. ^ In Boni- 
the letter to the king the Pope urges upon him the letters to 
folly of worshipping idols made by men's hands and ^*^w^^- 
exhorts him to " draw near to the knowledge " of his 
Creator and Redeemer. In the letter to the queen 
he says that his '' fatherly charity, having earnestly 
enquired " concerning her husband, has ascertained 
that he still '' serves abominable idols and has delayed 
to give ear or to yield obedience to the voice of the 
preachers." He urges her to give herself continually 
to prayer and to '' soften the hardness of his heart " 
by her teaching and exhortations. 

Paulinus having recalled to the king a promise which Edwin 
he had made when a refugee at the court of Redwald, become 1*" 
he agreed to submit the question of the adoption of ^^"^*' ''''• 
Christianity to a meeting of his wise men. The meeting, 
or council, which is graphically described by Bede, 
took place in Q%Q, or early in 627, at Goodmanham, 
about 23 miles from York. The speech of the 
chief pagan priest Coifi was to the point, though it Speech of 
contained no altruistic sentiments. He said: '' The ^"""^ 
religion which we have hitherto professed has, as far 
as I can learn, no virtue in it. For none of your people 
has apphed himself more diKgently to the worship of 
our gods than I, nevertheless there are many who 
receive greater favours from you . . . and are more 
prosperous in all their undertakings. Now if the gods 
had any power they would be more wiUing to help me 
who have been careful to serve them." His speech was 
followed by one that has often been quoted, and the 

1 Bede ii. 10 and 11. Bright sug- was Honorius the successor of Boni- 
gests that the writer of these letters face. Early Eng. Hist p. 119 n. 


pathos of which helps us to appreciate the sadness of 
a reKgion that has no outlook beyond the grave. The 
second speaker said : " It seems to me, O King, that 
the present life of man upon earth, when compared 
Man's life with the time of which we know nothing, is like the 
Ifghtoi a swift flight of a sparrow through a room wherein you 
sparrow, gj^ ^i suppcr in wiutcr with your chiefs and servants, 
and with a fire kindled in the midst, whilst the winter 
storms of rain and snow rage without : Uke the 
sparrow, I say, which comes in at one door and forth- 
with goes out at another. As long as he is within 
he is safe from the winter's storm, nevertheless when 
the very brief space of calm has ended he soon vanishes 
from your sight, returning to the (dark) winter from 
which he had emerged. So this life of man appears 
for a short space, but of what is to follow and 
what has preceded it we are altogether ignorant. If 
therefore this new doctrine has brought any more 
certain knowledge, it seems justly to deserve to 
be followed."! 

Others of the king's counsellors and PauUnus having 
spoken, Coifi said, " I advise, O King, that we speedily 
abjure and set fire to the temples and altars which we 
have hallowed without receiving any benefit there- 
from." The king thereupon proceeded to announce 
that he had himself "received the faith of Christ" 
Destruc and that permission to preach the Gospel was granted 
heTthen to PauHuus. Coifi then volunteered, if the king would 
temples, p^^yi^je him with arms and a staUion,^ to superintend 
the destruction of the temples and idols. "Having 

1 Id. ii. 13. high priest (pontifex) to ride on any 

2 It was considered unlawful for a but a mare or to carry arms. 


therefore girt a sword about him, with a spear in his 
hand he mounted the King's stallion and proceeded to 
the idols. The multitude beholding it thought that 
he was insane, but he delayed not and as soon as he 
drew near to the temple he profaned it by casting into 
it the spear which he held, and, rejoicing greatly in 
the knowledge of the worship of the true God, he com- 
manded his companions to destroy and burn down 
the temple together with all its enclosures." ^ The 
king with all his nobles and a large number of his 
people were baptized on Easter Day, April 12, 627, Baptism 
in the wooden church of St. Peter at York.^ Bede ""* ^'^''^• 
continues, " Paulinus for the space of six years, that 
is till the end of the reign of that king, by his consent 
and favour, preached the word of God in that country. 
... So great then is said to have been the fervour 
of the faith and the desire for the washing of salvation 
among the nation of the Northumbrians that at one time 
when Paulinus came with the king and queen to a royal 
seat called Adgefrin^ he stayed there with them for 
36 days fully occupied with the work of catechizing 
and baptizing, during which days from morning till 
night he did nothing else than instruct the people, 
who resorted to him from all villages and places, in 
the saving word of Christ, and when instructed he 
washed them in the water of absolution in the river 
Glen^ which was near at hand." ^ He baptized others 
in the River Swale near the village of Cataract.^ 

^ Id. ii. 13. 3 i,e. Yeverin near Wooler in North- 

2 Nennius states that Edwin and umberland. 

12,000 of his men were baptized by a * i.e. Bowmont Water, a tributary 

British priest named Run, but it is of the R. Till, 

most unlikely that this was the case. ^ Bede ii. 14. 

See H. and Stubbs i. p. 124. « i.e. Catterick in Yorkshire. 


Heathen The Superficial character of these conversions was 
made clear when, after the death of Edwin in 633, 
very many abaiidoned the profession of their new 
Peace re- The realm over which Edwin ruled extended from 
?khed by the Humber to the Forth ^ and his influence was para- 
Edwm. jnount throughout the whole of England outside the 
kingdom of Kent. The peace, moreover, which he estab- 
lished was so secure that it was said that '' a woman 
with her newborn babe might walk throughout the 
island from sea to sea without receiving any harm." ^ 
But whilst the conditions for extending missionary 
enterprise were for the time being ideal, the number of 
missionaries was unfortunately small. During the six 
Pauiinus years of his episcopate in Northumbria Paulinus {circ. 
coinsMre. ^28) '' prcachcd the word to the province of Lindsey," 
that is to the northernmost section of the county of 
Lincoln in which the city of Lincoln is situated, and in 
the stone church which he built at Lincoln^ he con- 
secrated Honorius to succeed Justus as archbishop 
of Canterbury. If the city of Tiovulfingacestir, men- 
tioned in Bede's account, be identified with South- 
well,^ it would appear that he also visited Nottingham- 
shire. At this place in the presence of King Edwin he 
baptized a great number of people. 

Conver- Rcdwald the king of East AngHa who had befriended 
Sw Edwin when an exile, and had sought to combine the 
ki'^Kair^'^ acceptance of the Christian faith with the worship of 
Angiia. idols, was succccdcd in 617 by his son Eorpwald, who 

1 Edinburgh = Edwin's burgh. now occupies this site. 

2 Bede ii. 16. * It has also been identified with 
^ The church of St. Paul in Lincoln Littleborough, and with Torksey. 


was persuaded by Edwin " to abandon his idolatrous 
superstitions and with his province to receive the 
faith and sacraments of Christ." ^ The pagan party, 
however, raised a strenuous opposition and Eorpwald 
was murdered by a pagan named Richbert. Three 
years later Eorpwald's half-brother Sigebert became King 
king. According to Bede he was '' a most Christian ^^^ ^^ ' 
and learned man " who during his exile in Gaul was 
admitted to the sacraments of the faith, whereof, when 
soon afterwards he" began to reign, he made it his 
business to call all his province to partake. About this 
time there arrived providentially in East Anglia a 
missionary bishop named Felix,^ who had come to Bishop 
Britain from Burgundy and had been sent by Honorius 
of Canterbury to preach in East Anglia. This " pious 
cultivator of the spiritual field reaped therein a large 
harvest of believers, delivering all that province, in 
accordance with the meaning of his name (Felix) from 
long iniquity and infeUcity, and bringing it to the 
faith and works of righteousness and the gifts of per- 
petual felicity." ^ Sigebert endeavoured to imitate 
the schools which he had seen in France and, with the 
aid of FeKx and of teachers whom he obtained either 
from Kent or Burgundy, he established schools at 
Dunwich ^ and at other centres.^ 

1 Bede ii. 15. the colony of Irish monks resident at 

2 FeUxstowe (the dweUing of FeUx) Luxeuil in Burgundy. 

in Suffolk was apparently named after ^ A town which has been submerged 

him. It would seem that Felix had by the encroaching sea. 

been consecrated as a bishop before ^ Sigebert has been claimed by some 

he came to England. See The Con- as the founder of the University of 

version of the Heptarchy, Bp. Browne Cambridge. See The Conversion of 

P- 73 f . the Heptarchy. Bishop Bro\taie p. 82 ; 

3 Bede ii. 15. Bp. Browne sug- Fuller, i. 187 f. 
gests that Felix may have been one of 


During the reign of Sigebert there came from Ireland 
st.Fursey. a missionary named Fursey, who, " after preaching the 
word of God many years in Scotland {i.e. Ireland), could 
no longer bear the crowds that resorted to him, and, 
leaving all that he seemed to possess, departed from 
his native island and came with a few brothers through 
the Britons into the province of the English." ^ On 
his arrival in East Anglia he was welcomed by the 
king, and there " executing his accustomed task of 
preaching the Gospel, by the example of his virtue 
and the incitement of his discourse he converted many 
unbelievers to Christ, or confirmed those who already 
believed in the faith and love of Christ." ^ On a 
Sigebert piccc of grouud givcu to him by Sigebert at Cnobheres- 
monrs-^ burg 3 he built a monastery. The king himself, says 
^^'^y- Bede, " became so great a lover of the heavenly king- 
dom that at length he abandoned the business of his 
kingdom which he committed to his kinsman Ecgric, 
. . . and entered a monastery which he had built, 
and, having received the tonsure, applied himself to 
strive to obtain an eternal kingdom." * Soon after- 
wards, when East Anglia was invaded by the Mercian 
king Penda, his people besought him to resume his 
duties as their king, and on his refusal dragged him 
from the monastery and forced him to be present at 
the battle (636) ^ in which he and Ecgric and many 
of his people were killed. Fursey retired to Gaul 
where he built another monastery and where he died 

1 Bede iii. 19. Bede's account of * Id. iii. 18. His example was 
St. Fursey is taken from an earlier followed by Kenred of Mercia, Offa 
biography. of Essex and several other princes. 

2 Id. 5 rpj^ig ig ^he date given by Haddan 

3 Burgh Castle near Lowestoft. and Stubbs iii. 89. 


in 647. After the death of Felix his deacon Thomas 
was consecrated by Honorius as bishop. 

The next king, Anna, who was a cousin of Sigebert, King 
several of whose daughters became nuns, was killed 
by Penda in 654. He had been the means of converting 
to the Christian faith Coinwalch king of Wessex who 
had sought refuge with him after Penda had driven 
him from Wessex. 

To return to the story of Northumbria : Edwin after 
defeating Cadwallon the king of Gwynedd, or North 
Wales, had driven hin* into Wales. In his extremity 
Cadwallon, although a Briton and a Christian, allied 
himself with Penda the king of the Mercians, who was a 
Saxon and a strenuous upholder of paganism. The two 
having attacked Edwin at Heathfieldi in South-East Edwin 
Yorkshire, defeated and killed him on October 12, 633. Heafh^* 
At this time, says Bede, '' a great slaughter was made ^^^^' ^^^* 
in the church or nation of the Northumbrians, and 
the more so because one of the leaders by whom it 
was made was a pagan and the other, inasmuch as 
he was a barbarian, was worse than a pagan. For 
Penda with all the nation of the Mercians was devoted Penda. 
to idolatry and was ignorant of the Christian name, 
but Cadwallon, though he had the name and profession 
of a Christian, was so barbarous that he spared neither 
women nor children, but ravaged the whole country. 
Nor did he show any respect for the Christian rehgion 
which had sprung up amongst them." ^ The year 
which followed the battle of Heathfield was regarded, 
even at the time when Bede wrote, as " unfortunate 

^ i.e. Hatfield Chase near Doncaster. 2 Bede ii. 20. 


Heathen and hateful to all good men." ^ Edwin's cousin Osric, 
in^North- who succeeded him as king in Deira, and Ethelfrid's 
umbria. ^^^ Eanfrid, who became king in Bernicia, both 
renounced their Christianity in order to win the favour 
of Penda, but were both killed by Cadwallon. On the 
death of Edwin Paulinus abandoned his diocese and 
fled to Canterbury, afterwards becoming bishop of 
Rochester, in charge of which he remained, according 
to Bede, " until he ascended to the celestial kingdoms 
with the fruit of his glorious toil." ^ Referring to 
the work of Paulinus Bishop Lightfoot writes : " The 
hasty and superficial work of Paulinus had come to 
nought. . . . The night of heathendom again closed 
over the land. The first chapter in the history of 
Northumbrian Christianity was ended. The Roman 
mission, despite all the feverish energy of its chief, 
had proved a failure. A sponge had passed over 
Northumbria, and scarce a vestige of his work 
remained." ^ Bishop Browne speaking of the work 
of Paulinus and the other Italian monks, says, " The 
history of the Italian Mission is a history of failure to 
face danger. Mellitus fled from London, and got him- 
self safe to Gaul ; Justus fled from Rochester. . . . 
Laurentius was packed up to fly from Canterbury and 
follow them ; Paulinus fled from York." ^ Bede says 
of the first three, " it was decreed by' common counsel 
that it would be better that all should return to their 
native land and serve the Lord there with a free mind 
than that they should reside fruitlessly among bar- 
barians who were rebels against the faith." ^ 

1 Bede iii. 1. * The Christian Church in these islands 

2 Id. ii. 20. before the coming of Augustine, p. 7. 
2 Leaders in the Northern Church, p. 41. ^ Bk. ii. c. 5. 


But although the inhabitants of Yorkshire were 
deprived of their Christian king and were deserted 
by their bishop, they did not entirely lapse into heathen- 
ism. When Paulinus retired '' he left behind him in 
his church at York James the deacon, who, continuing james the 
long after in that church, snatched much spoil from ^^^^^' 
the ancient enemy (of mankind) by teaching and 
baptizing. . . . He was very skilful in singing.'' On 
the death of Eanfrid his younger brother Oswald 
became king of Bernicia and having " advanced with 
an army, small, but strengthened with the faith of 
Christ," defeated and killed Cadwallon (634) at Heaven- King 
field near Hexham, and established himself as king of ^^^i^ ^f 
Deira and Bernicia. ^T7^J!i\ 

field, 634. 

' As soon as he ascended the throne, being desirous 
that all his nation should receive the Christian faith, 
whereof he had found happy experience in vanquishing 
the barbarians, he sent to the elders of the Scots among 
whom he himself and his followers, when in banishment, 
had received the sacrament of baptism, desiring that 
they would send him a bishop." ^ The chief ecclesi- Oswald 
astical authority in Scotland at this time was Seghine scotw^ 
(Segenius) ^ the abbot of Hy or Icolmcille.^ On receipt ^^^J^^ 
of the king's request a bishop, to whom a Scottish tradi- 
tion has given the name of Corman, was despatched. Bishop 
He was a man " of austere disposition who, after ^^°^^^* 
preaching for a time to the English people and having 
effected nothing, the people being unwilling to listen 
to him, returned to his native country and reported 
in an assembly of the elders that he had not been able 

1 Bede iii. 3. ^ Known in later times as lona. 

^ Seghine was the fourth successor See p. 75 n. 
of Columba. 


to benefit in any way by his teaching the nation to 
which he had been sent, because they were imtameable 
(indomabiles) and of a harsh and barbarous disposition." 
A similar report has on many subsequent occasions 
been given by those who have lacked the inexhaustible 
sympathy which has been the distinguishing charac- 
teristic of all the greatest missionaries. Happily for 
the future of Christianity in England the assembly 
to which Gorman reported contained a man in whom 
the power of sympathy had been developed to a mar- 
st. Aidan. vcUous degree. Aidan, according to Bede, had long 
been known and loved on account of his humility, his 
diligence in the performance of religious duties, and 
above all for his ability to sympathize with rich and 
poor, believers and unbelievers. On hearing the words 
of Gorman, Aidan said, " It seems to me, brother, that 
you were more severe to your unlearned hearers than 
you ought to have been, and that you did not at first, 
in accordance with apostolic teaching, give them the 
milk of more easy doctrine, till, having been by degrees 
nourished with the word of God, they might have 
become able to receive that which is more perfect, 
and practise the more sublime precepts of God." ^ 
Those who were present forthwith recognized in the 
speaker the man fitted to accomplish the difficult task 
which was in view. Having been consecrated as a 
bishop Aidan was accordingly sent to Northumbria. 
Lindis- The island of Lindisf arne, on which he fixed his residence 
^^^^' and presently built a monastery, was probably selected 
by him, or by Oswald, on account of its nearness to 
Bamborough, which was then Oswald's principal seat. 

1 Bede iii. 5. 


The site would doubtless have appeared specially 
attractive to Aidan on account of its resemblance to 
his former island home. In view of the great influence 
which the monastery of Lindisfarne exerted upon the 
conversion of England and the evolution of the EngKsh 
Church it would be hard to name any spot in the British 
Isles that is znore deserving of veneration.^ 

In Oswald Aidan found an enthusiastic fellow- 
missionary who, as Aidan knew but little EngHsh, 
interpreted for him when he preached to his " com- 
manders and ministers." "From this time," says Spread 
Bede, "many from the country of the Scots began christian 
to come daily into Britain, and with great devotion ^^'*^' 
preached the word of faith to those provinces of the 
EngUsh over which Oswald reigned, and those (among 
them) who had received priest's orders administered 
to those who beheved the grace of baptism. Where- 
upon churches were built in several places ; the people 
flocked together with joy to hear the word, property 
and lands were given of the king's bounty to build 
monasteries, the Enghsh, great and small, were in- 
structed by their Scottish masters in the more important 
subjects of study and in the observance of regular 
discipline, for most of those who came to preach were 
monks." ^ 

The character of Aidan, as drawn for us by Bede, Bede's 
is singularly attractive, and it is the more hkely to uon oF" 
be a true picture inasmuch as Bede was strongly pre- ^^^*'^- 

1 Alcuin of York in a letter to rupted. After Aidan there were 15 

Ethelred king of Northumbria de- at Lindisfarne, then 7 at Chester-le- 

scribes it as *locuscunctis in Britannia Street, and 84 at Durham. 

venerabiHor.' See H. and S. iii. 493. a Bede iii. 3. Most of the bishops 

The succession of bishops of Lindis- who succeeded Aidan till 1072 were 

fame has never since been inter- monks. 


judiced against several of the customs which Aidan 
introduced. His teaching in regard to the observance 
of Easter he " very much detested," ^ nevertheless he 
bears ungrudging witness to " his love of peace, 
charity, continence and humility, his mind superior to 
anger and avarice and despising pride and vainglory, 
his industry in teaching and keeping the heavenly com- 
mandments, his diligence in reading and watchings, 
his authority as became a priest in reproving the 
haughty and powerful, and at the same time his 
tenderness in comforting the afflicted and relieving 
and defending the poor." ^ 
Aidan's At Liudisfame he lived the life of a monk and when 
s^onary ^c travelled on his missionary tours he went on foot. 
journeys, jj'g clothiug cousistcd of a thick woollen cape (cucuUa) 
and in winter he wore a shirt (tunica) and above it 
a loose cloak (amphibalus). He had the Irish tonsure 
and his long hair flowed down behind.^ " Wherever 
in the course of his journeys he saw any, whether rich 
or poor, he would there and then invite them, if un- 
believers, to embrace the mystery of the faith, or, if 
they were believers, he would strengthen them in the 
faith and would stir them up by words and actions 
to almsgiving and the performance of good works." ^ 
His ascetic life moreover was imitated by his disciples 
and companions.^ "All those who went about with 

^ Bede iii. 17. character to the Northumbrian 

2 Id. Church. Thus Drythelm of Mehose 

^ See Early Eng. Ch. Hist, by would stand at times up to his neck 

Bright, p. 147. in the R. Tweed reciting prayers 

* Bede iii. 5. and psalms, and would even break 

^ The Celtic missionaries as a rule the ice in order to get into the river. 

practised a rigorous asceticism and Cuthbert is said to have done the 

helped to give a strongly ascetic same (see Bcedce Opera by Plummer, 


him whether they were shorn monks or laymen, were 
employed in meditation, and were assiduous either in 
reading the Scriptures or learnmg psalms. This was 
the daily employment of himself and all that were 
with him, wheresoever they went, and if it happened, 
which was but seldom, that he was invited to eat with 
the king, he went with one or two clerks, and having 
taken a small repast, he made haste to be gone with 
them to read or to pray. At that time some religious 
men and women, stirred by his example, adopted the 
custom of fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays through- 
out the year till the ninth hour except during the fifty 
days after Easter." ^ Aidan realized that if the Church 
in Northumbria was to be securely established educa- His efforts 
tion must form a chief part of his work, and he accord- motredu- 
ingly gathered about him in the first instance twelve *^^*^'^'^' 
boys "to be instructed in Christ." ^ The fact that 
these included the two brothers Chad and Cedd, the 
evangelists of central and southern England, and Eata, 
who became abbot of Melrose and afterwards bishop 
of Lindisfarne, suggests that he possessed a remarkable 
insight into character. Some of those whom he trained 
had previously been ransomed by him from slavery. 

Bede attributes to him a number of miracles which His 
are said to have been wrought by his prayers, the °^^^^*'^®^- 
traditions relating to which at least show that he was 
regarded as a man of prayer. 

After a reign of eight years, Oswald was killed in 

i. XXX.). Of Kentigern we read: ium'' {see Life of Nynias and Kentigern 

"nudum . . . se reddens aquis vehem- by Forbes, p. 185). 

entibus et f rigidis se immergebat ... ^ Bede iii. 5. 

ibique in frigore et nuditate ... ^ jij 26. 
totum ex integro decantabat psalter- 


Oswald 642^ at the battle of Maserfield^ fighting against 

Maser-^ Penda. Oswin son of Osric, who succeeded him, 

field, 642. gijpported Aidan in his missionary labours, with as 

much zeal as Oswald had displayed. Aidan died on 

August 31, 651, at Bamborough. Referring to the 

circumstances of his death, Bede writes : " Aidan 

Death of was in the king's country house ... at the time 

651^^' when death compelled him to depart from his body 

after being bishop for sixteen^ years, for having a 

church and a chamber there, he was wont often to 

go and stay there and going thence to preach in the 

country round about, as he did also at other houses 

belonging to the king, having no personal possessions 

other than his church and some small fields near to 

it. When he was sick they set up a tent for him close 

to the wall at the west end of the church, and so it 

happened that he breathed his last leaning against a 

buttress that was placed on the outside of the church 

to strengthen the wall." ^ 

For the student of missions the long disputes in regard 
Disputes to the keeping of Easter, which culminated in 664 in 
tSsfst^er. the conference of Whitby, are a matter of concern in 
so far as they tended to divide and thereby weaken 
the counsels that were from time to time put forward 
for the evangelization of the non-Christian populations. 
For many years these and similar disputes rendered it 
difficult for the Celtic and Saxon or Roman mission- 

^ The gratitude with which subse- the gladsome and holy joy of this 

quent generations regarded the work day ..." 

accomplished by Oswald is evidenced ^ Usually identified with Oswestry 

by the words of the collect appointed in Shropshire. 

in the Sarum use to be said on his day. ^ Two of the oldest MSS. read 16 

" O God, who by the passion of thy and two read 17. 

holy servant Oswald hast consecrated ^ Bede iii. 17, 


aries to co-operate, or to appreciate aright each other's 
work, and in many instances they gave rise to great 
bitterness and did much to retard the progress of mis- 
sionary efforts. At the same time it is but fair to say 
that the disputants were not quarrelling about trifles. 
The issue which appeared to them to be involved 
was nothing less than the preservation of the unity of 
the Christian Church. 

When after thirty years many of the Scottish, or Celtic 
Irish, monks left Lindisf arne, together with their bishop ^^ve 
Colman, it became manifest how simple and frugal ^*^^^" 
had been their life. " There were houses besides 
the church found at their departure, no more indeed 
than were absolutely necessary for their daily life " ^ ; Their 
they had made no attempts to entertain the rich or North^ 
great, " for these never came to church except to ""^^"^• 
pray and to hear the word of God." Their repasts, 
which were of the simplest kind, were shared by their 
visitors even when these included the king and his 
courtiers. In a passage of great interest Bede describes 
the attitude of the people generally towards the monks 
and the reception which these received when they 
travelled from place to place. He writes, " Wherever 
clergy or monks happened to come, such an one was 
joyfully received by all as the servant of God. And 
if they chanced to meet him on the way, they ran to 
him and, bowing their heads, were glad to be signed 
with his hand or blessed with his mouth. They paid 
great attention also to their exhortations. Moreover 
on Sundays they flocked eagerly to church or to the 
monasteries, not to refresh the body but to hear the word 

1 Bede ill. 26. 


of God, and if any priest happened to come into a 
village the villagers quickly came together, eager to 
hear from him the word of life, for the priests and 
clergy went to the villages for no other purpose than 
to preach, baptize, visit the sick, and, to put it briefly, 
to care for souls, and were so free from all plague of 
avarice that none of them received lands and possessions 
for building monasteries, unless forced to do so by the 
temporal authorities : and this custom was for some 
time afterwards generally observed in the churches 
of the Northumbrians." ^ 
Aidan To Aidau belongs the honour of introducing the 

^^i^L ministry of women into the Northumbrian Church, 
of women. ^^ ]^g cousccratcd Heiu,^ the first nun and foundress 
of the monastery of Hartlepool. According to Bede she 
is said to have been the first woman in the province of 
the Northumbrians " to have taken upon her the purpose 
and the vesture of the religious life. 
Bp. Light- Bishop Lightfoot writes of the character of Aidan, " I 
charrcter kuow uo uoblcr type of the missionary spirit. His char- 
of Aidan. actcr, as it appears through the haze of antiquity, is 
almost absolutely faultless. Doubtless this haze may 
have obscured some imperfections which a clearer atmo- 
sphere and a nearer view would have enabled us to 
detect. But we cannot have been misled as to the main 
lineaments of the man. Measuring him side by side 
with other great missionaries of those days, Augustine 
of Canterbury, or Wilfrid of York, or Cuthbert of his 
own Lindisfarne, we are struck with the singular sweet- 
ness and breadth and sympathy of his character. He 
had all the virtues of his Celtic race without any of its 

1 iii. 26. ^ Bede iv. 23, " consecrante Aidano episcopo." 


faults. A comparison with his own spiritual fore- 
father — ^the eager, headstrong, irascible, affectionate, 
penitent, patriotic, self-devoted Columba, the most 
romantic and attractive of all early mediaeval saints — 
will justify this sentiment. He was tender, sympathetic, 
adventurous, self-sacrificing, but he was patient, stead- 
fast, calm, appreciative, discreet before all things." ^ 

If we take into account the work of his disciples Aldan's 
and the subsequent development of the missionary thrco^- 
enterprises which he started, we are justified in claiming En^^J^nd^ 
for Aidan, rather than for Augustine, the larger share in 
the evangelization of England. That the conversion of 
the greater part of England was due to the impulse of 
Aidan and his followers is admitted even by the Roman 
Catholic writer, Montalembert, who says : 

" From the cloisters of Lindisfarne and from the 
heart of those districts in which the popularity of 
ascetic pontiffs such as Aidan, and martyr kings such 
as Oswald and Oswin, took day by day a deeper root, 
Northumbrian Christianity spread over the southern 
kingdoms. . . . What is distinctly visible is the in- 
fluence of Celtic priests and missionaries everywhere 
replacing, or seconding, the Roman missionaries and 
reaching districts which their predecessors had never 
been able to enter. The stream of the Divine Word 
thus extended itself from north to south, and its slow 
but certain course reached in succession all the people 
of the Heptarchy." ^ Again he writes : "Of the 
eight kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Confederation, 
that of Kent alone was exclusively won and retained 
by the Roman monks whose first attempts among the 

^ Leaders in the Northern Church, p. 44. 2 Monks of the West, iv. p. 88. 


East Saxons and Northumbrians ended in failure. 
In Wessex and in East Anglia the Saxons of the West 
and the Angles of the East were converted by the 
combined action of continental missionaries and Celtic 
monks. As to the two Northumbrian kingdoms and 
those of Essex and Mercia, which comprehended in 
themselves more than two-thirds of the territory 
occupied by the German (Saxon) conquerors, these 
four countries owed their final conversion exclusively 
to the peaceful invasion of the Celtic monks, who not 
only rivalled the zeal of the Roman monks, but who, 
the first obstacles once surmounted, showed much 
more perseverance and gained much more success."^ 

We have quoted this appreciation of the work of the 
Celtic mission by Montalembert at some length because 
it gives in a few sentences an outline sketch of the 
conversion of England, and because the writer will 
not be suspected of exaggerating the importance of 
the work of Aidan at the expense of that done by the 
missionaries from Italy. 
End of The Celtic mission to Northumbria came to an abrupt 

mission, end as the result of the decisions arrived at by the 
Conference which was held at Whitby in the spring 
of 664. It was decided at this Conference to abandon 
the Celtic usages relating to the tonsure and the keeping 
of Easter in favour of the Roman usages. The decision 
was reached owing to the action of King Oswy, who was 
largely influenced by Wilfrid. After the Conference 
the Celtic brotherhood at Lindisfarne was broken up 
and Colman returned with many of his brothers and 
scholars to lona. " What heart," writes Montalembert, 

1 Monks of the West, iv. p. 125. 


"is SO cold as not to understand, to sympathize and to 
journey with him, along the Northumbrian coast and 
over the Scottish mountains where, bearing homeward 
the bones of his father (Aidan), the proud but 
vanquished spirit returned to his northern mists, and 
buried in the sacred isle of lona his defeat and his 
unconquerable fidelity to the traditions of his 
race." ^ 

With the departure of the Celtic missionaries ended 
" the golden age of saintliness, such as England would 
never see again," ^ but their withdrawal helped towards 
the unification of the Church and, through the instru- 
mentality of the Church, the making of the English 

The three figures who stand out conspicuously in 
the story of the planting and early development of the 
Northumbrian Church are Oswald, Aidan and Hilda. St. Hilda. 
The last of these, who was a member of the royal 
house, had been instructed and baptized as a child by 
Paulinus and later on became the chief friend and 
adviser of Aidan. The first half of her sixty-six years 
were spent in " the world " and the latter half as 
the ruler of a religious house. To her initiative was 
largely due the development of the monasteries which 
became the centres of education in the north of England. 
She died in 680.^ 

Bede writes : " This servant of Christ, Abbess Hilda, 
whom all that knew her were wont to call Mother on 
account of her singular piety and grace, was not only a 
pattern of life to those who were in her monastery, but 

1 Monks of the West, iv. 170. ^ For life and death of Hilda see 

2 Leaders in the Northern Church, Bede iv. cap. 23. 
Lightfoot, p. 14. 


to many also at a distance, to whom the fame of her 
industry and virtue came, she afforded occasion of 
salvation and amendment." 

The Conversion of Wessex 

Extent of Wcsscx, the kingdom of the West Saxons, was 
founded by Cerdic about 519. At the time when the 
Gospel was first preached to its inhabitants, its boun- 
daries were subject to frequent changes according as the 
wars, in which its kings were constantly engaged, 
tended to increase or contract the kingdom. The 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that in 597 '' Ceowulf 
began to reign over the West Saxons and he fought and 
contended incessantly with Angle-kin, or with Welsh, 
or with Picts, or with Scots." About this time Wessex 
included Hampshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire and parts of 
Buckinghamshire. About the year 633 Pope Honorius 
received a visit from a man of a missionary spirit named 

St. Birinus,^ who said that he desired "to scatter the 

seeds of the holy faith in those furthest inland territories 
of the English to which no teacher had as yet come." ^ 
The Pope approved his resolve and sent him to be 
consecrated as a bishop by Asterius bishop of Milan, 
who apparently resided at Genoa.^ 

In 634 Birinus landed, probably at Porchester, in 
Hampshire, and " finding all the people most pagan, 
he thought it better to preach the word there rather 
than to proceed further to search for others to whom 

^ The nationality of Birinus is un- Heptarchy, by Bp. Browne, p. 48. 
certain. It has been suggested that ^ Bede, iii. 7. 

the name is identical with the Irish ^ Bede refers to him as bishop of 

Byrne : see The Conversion of the Genoa. 


he might preach." ^ His preaching met with speedy 
success and the king, Cynegils, " having been catechized 
was washed in the fountain of baptism together with 
his people," 2 apparently towards the end of 635. 
The success of Birinus may have been helped by the 
presence of Oswald, " the most holy and victorious 
king of the Northumbrians," who desired to marry 
the daughter of Cynegils, and who, being present on 
the occasion, " received ^ him as he came forth from the 
laver of baptism." Bede continues, " the two kings The see of 
gave to the bishop the city called Dorcic ^ (Dorchester) J^^ster. 
in order that he might establish this as his see, where, 
having built and consecrated churches, and having 
by his pious labour called many to the Lord, he himself 
migrated to the Lord." Cwichelm the son of Cynegils 
was baptized at Dorchester in 636 but died the same 
year. The king, who died in 643, was succeeded by 
his son Kenwalch, or Coinwalch, who had " refused King Ken- 
to embrace the mysteries of the heavenly kingdom " '^^^'^^* 
and was a strong upholder of heathenism. Having 
put away his wife, who was a sister of Penda the king 
of the Mercians, in order to marry another, he was 
attacked and defeated by Penda (645) and retired as 
an exile to Anna the king of the East Saxons. During 
the three years which he spent in exile " he discerned 
and received the true faith." ^ When at length he 
had regained his kingdom, " a certain bishop called Bishop 
Agilbert, a native of Gaul, who had lived for a long time ^s'^^®""** 

^ Bede iii. 7. A later legend, given Birinus is represented on an old font 

by Bromton, states that on landing in Winchester Cathedral, 

he preached for three days and that » This was the function of a sponsor, 

among his audience were many who * Eight and a half miles from Oxford, 

had been converted by Augustine. ^ According to the A.-S. Chronicle 

2 The baptism of Cynegils by the date of his baptism was 646. 


in Ireland for the sake of reading the Scriptures," ^ came 
of his own accord and began to preach, whereupon the 
king, '' observing his erudition and industry," desired him 
to remain as his bishop. Birinus died on December 3, 650. 
After Agilbert had acted as bishop for " many years " 
the king, who understood only the Saxon language, 
having grown weary of the bishop's '' barbarous 
tongue," brought into the province a Saxon bishop 
Bishop named Wini who had been ordained in Gaul, and, 
having divided his kingdom into two dioceses, created 
for Wini an episcopal seat at Wintancestir (Winchester). 
Agilbert " being grievously offended because he had 
done this without consulting him went north to North- 
umbria and eventually returned to Gaul and was made 
bishop of Paris." "Not many years after Agilbert's 
departure out of Britain Wini was expelled from 
his bishopric by the same king and took refuge with 
purchases Wulfhere king of the Mercians, from whom he purchased 
London!^ f or moucy the see of the city of London ^ and remained 
bishop thereof till his death." ^ After the expulsion of 
Wini the king, moved by the calamities which befell 
him and his people, sent messengers to Paris begging 
Agilbert to return. This he refused to do, but he sent 
Bishop his nephew, a priest named Leutherius, suggesting 
therius. that he might be made a bishop. At the king's request 
Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, consecrated him 
as bishop (670) in the city of Winchester, and — con- 
tinues Bede — " for many years he zealously governed 
the bishopric of the Gewissae (West Saxons) with 
synodical authority." 

1 Bede iii. 7. porum Londinensium non meruit 

2 Matthew Paris writes of him: recenseri.' 
'unde post mortem in serie episco- ^ Bede iii. 7. 


Of the bishops of the West Saxons who were men 
of note, and who were specially interested in missionary 
enterprises mention should be made of Daniel, who Bpp. 


became bishop of Winchester in 705, and of Aldhelm, and Aid- 
who became bishop of Sherborne in the same year. ^ ^' 

The Isle of Wight was finally conquered by the Conquest 
West Saxons in 630, after which it was held by the Jutes of wight, 
and later on became part of the kingdom of Wessex. 
In 680 it was given to the South Saxon king of Sussex, 
but in 686 Ceadwalla, who had seized the kingdom of 
Wessex, won back the island which was still " entirely 
given over to idolatry." He then " by cruel slaughter 
endeavoured to exterminate all its inhabitants and to 
place in their stead people belonging to his own province, 
binding himself by an oath . . . that if he took the 
island he would give a fourth part ot it as booty to the 
Lord, which vow he performed when he gave it to 
Bishop Wilfrid, who happened at the time to have come 
hither out of his own nation." ^ 

Wilfrid committed the task of evangehzing the The i. of 
island to his nephew Bernwin and gave him as his eval- 
assistant a priest named Hiddila to minister the word f^fifria. ^ 
and baptism " to all who desired to be saved." 

The Conversion of Mercia 

Mercia, that is the march-land or border-land, was 
the name given to the territory where the West Angles 
marched with the Britons of North Wales and the 
Britons of Cumbria. Its inhabitants were Angles as 
distinguished from Saxons and Jutes. Penda, the 

^ Bede iv. 16. 


Penda heathen king of Mercia, began his career by defeating 
Men;ia. ^^d kilUng Edwin the first Christian king of Northumbria 
(633), and later on he killed his successor, Oswald (642). 
In twenty-two years he killed five kings, all of whom 
were Christians. The first attempt to introduce 
Christianity into Mercia dates from about 653, when 
Peada, a son of Penda, having been made by him. sub- 
king of the Middle Angles (653), who occupied, roughly 
speaking, the present county of Leicester, came to 
Oswy the king of the Northumbrian Angles to ask the 
introduc- hand of his daughter Elfleda in marriage. The con- 
Chris- dition imposed by Oswy was that Peada must become 
tianity. ^ Christian and try to convert to Christianity the 
people over whom he ruled. After undergoing a course 
of instruction, and having '' heard the preaching of 
the truth, the promise of the heavenly kingdom and the 
hope of resurrection and future immortality, he declared 
that he would willingly become a Christian, even though 
he should be refused the virgin." Soon afterwards 
Baptism " he was baptized by Bishop Finan with all his earls 
(comitibus) and soldiers who had come with him, . . . 
and having received four priests who for their learning 
and good life were deemed fit to instruct and baptize 
his nation, he returned with great joy. These priests 
were Cedd, Adda, Betti and Diuma, the last oif whom 
was by nation a Scot (Irish), the others being English." ^ 
On the return of Peada to his own people these priests 
" preached the word and were willingly listened to, 
and many both of the nobles and of those of lower 
degree renouncmg the vileness of idolatry were baptized 
daily." The opposition of Penda to Christianity had 

1 Bede iii. 21. 

of Peada. 


by this time ended, and though he did not himself Penda»s 
become a Christian he ceased to prevent his subjects towards 
from accepting baptism. He was keen, moreover, to^^^f^" 
note those who professed the Christian faith and failed 
to live in accordance with its precepts. Thus Bede 
writes : "He hated and despised those whom, after 
they had received the faith of Christ, he perceived not 
to perform the works of faith, and said that those were 
contemptible and wretched who contemned obedience 
to their God in whom they believed." 

In 656 Penda was killed fighting against Oswy and Death of 
the latter added the kingdom of Mercia to his dominions. 65^"^^' 
Diuma, the Scottish priest, was then made bishop of 
the Middle Angles over whom Peada continued to 
rule, and of the Mercians under the rule of Oswy. As 
illustrating the small share which the ItaKan Mission 
had in the conversion of the Enghsh we may note that 
in 656, sixty years after the despatch of this Mission, 
" Northumbria, Mercia, the East Saxon kingdom and 
Wessex were all ruled by bishops of Irish or Scottish 
consecration, and the teaching of Christianity was 
entirely in the hands of men of the pre-Augustine 
churches of these islands." ^ In 656 Peada was mur- 
dered and three years later the Mercians revolted from 
Oswy and set up Wulfhere a son of Penda as their King 
king. Soon after Theodore reached Canterbury in^''"^^'"^- 
669 Wulfhere apphed to him for help, as Mercia was 
then without a bishop, and it was eventually arranged 
that Chad should leave York and become bishop of 
Mercia. By this time the conversion of Mercia was 
practically completed. 

^ The Conversion of the Heptarchy, by Bp. Browne, p. 114. 


The Conversion of Sussex 

Isolation The last portioD of England to embrace the Christian 
faith was the district which now forms the county of 
Sussex. The dense barrier of forest and marsh that 
separated it from the Itahan Mission in Kent had 
apparently prevented the representatives of this Mission 
from making any attempt during three-quarters of a 
century to secure the conversion of its inhabitants.^ 
In 681, when Kent had been Christian for 84 and 
London for about 16 years, the first attempt was 
made to convert the South Saxons of Sussex, the 

Wilfrid in leader of the enterprise being the famous Wilfrid of 


681. ' York. But although this was the date of the first 
organised effort to preach the Christian faith to the 
people, there had been Christians in Sussex before 
the coming of Wilfrid. Thus Bede writes : " There 
was among them a certain monk of the Scottish (Irish) 

Dicui. nation, Dicul by name, who had a very small monastery 
in a place called Bosanham, encompassed with the 
sea and woods, and in it five or six brothers who served 
the Lord in humility and poverty ; but none of the 
people of the province cared either to imitate their 
life, or to listen to their preaching." ^ 

Another and more influential representative of Chris - 

1 Bp. Browne writes, " The South " I risk the suggestion that Wulf- 
Saxons were shut off from the world here, who had good reason to know 
by a belt of forest, represented as and be grateful for the missionary 
impassable, 120 m. long from east ability of the Scotic Church, had 
to west and 30 m, deep. So far as recommended Dicul and his monks to 
ancient roads were concerned, we may Ethelwalch, as 20 years before Oswy 
fairly say that the best way to Sussex had sent four Scotic teachers to 
from anywhere was by sea." The Mercia to begin the conversion of 
Conversion of the Heptarchy, 161. that great kingdom." 

2 Bede iv. 13, Bp. Browne writes : 


tianity in Sussex was the king of the South Saxons, 
Ethelwalch, who had, " not long before/ been baptized Baptism 
in the province of the Mercians by the persuasion of EtheL 
King Wulfhere, who was present," and acted as his ^^^^^' 
godfather. On the occasion of his baptism King Wulf- 
here gave him the Isle of Wight ^ and the province of 
Meonwara which included the eastern half of Hamp- 
shire. His queen, whose name was Ebba, had been Queen 
baptized before her marriage with Ethelwalch, in the 
province of the Hwiccii.^ 

As a result of his missionary labours in Sussex, 
Wilfrid '' with the king's consent, or rather to his great 
satisfaction, baptized the principal leaders and soldiers ; and many 
and the priests Eappa, Padda, Burghelm and Eadda, ^ 
either then or afterwards baptized the rest of the people." 
By a happy — perhaps we should say a providential — 
coincidence, the day on which the first converts were 
baptized witnessed the end of the drought that had 
lasted for three years and had caused widespread famine 
and even starvation. The ending of the drought was 
regarded by the people as a token of divine approval 
and the speedy conversion of the people throughout 
Sussex ensued. Bede writes : '' Their former super- 
stition having been rejected, and idolatry having been 
expelled, the heart and flesh of all exulted in the 
living God, for they perceived that He who is the 
true God had by His heavenly grace enriched them 
with both inward and outward blessings." Their 
gratitude was further increased when Wilfrid proceeded 

^ Wulfhere's reign ended in 672 or ^ A district that included parts 

673, i.e. about 9 years before the of Worcestershire, Warwickshire and 

arrival of Wilfrid. Gloucestershire. 

2 See p. 139. 


Wilfrid ; to give his converts lessons in fishing. " For the bishop, 
hirc^n- when he came into the province and witnessed the great 
verts to iQgg caused by the famine, taught them to seek a Hveh- 
hood by fishing, for the sea and their rivers abounded 
in fish, but the people had no skill to catch them save 
only eels. The bishop's men having collected eel-nets 
everywhere, cast them into the sea, and by the blessing 
of God they soon caught three hundred fishes of different 
kinds." 1 These they divided into three lots, one of 
which was given to the poor, one to the owners of the 
nets and one to the fishermen. It is probable that Wilfrid 
had himself learned the art of fishing when as a boy he 
had been educated at Lindisf arne. The method by which 
he commended his preaching of the Christian faith has 
been followed by many other missionaries in other lands.^ 
Seisey At this time the king gave to Wilfrid Selsey, '' which 

teryf is Called in Latin the island of the sea-calf," "in order 
to maintain his companions who were in exile." ^ On 
this island, or rather peninsula, Wilfrid built a monas- 
tery of which Eappa became the head under Wilfrid. 
And " forasmuch as the king gave him together with 
the possession of the place all that was there, including 
the lands and the men, he instructed all m the faith 
of Christ and washed them in the water of baptism. 
Baptism Among them were two hundred and fifty men and 
sLves. women slaves, all of whom by baptism he not only 
rescued from the servitude of the devil but gave to 
them also bodily liberty and set them free from the 

1 Bede iv. 13. Northumbria those of his friends who 

2 The biographer of St. Gall refers were banished at the same time con- 
to his fishing on Lake of Constance, tinned to look to him for support, and 
but this was to supply the needs of some of them had apparently followed 
his own brethren, see below, p. 316. him to Sussex. 

3 When Wilfrid was banished from 


yoke of human slavery." ^ Wilfrid continued his 
labours in Sussex for five years and when in 686, after 
the death of Egfrid of Northumbrian he set out again 
for the north, he left behind him the Christian kingdom Wilfrid 
of Sussex.^ '' For five years," writes Dr. Bright, " he Snisex, 
exercised in those parts the office of the episcopate, 
both by words and by deeds, deservedly honoured by 
all, with the Uttle cathedral of Selsey instead of York, 
with the poor simple neophytes of Sussex instead of 
the Northumbrian Church in its stately organization, 
with Ethelwalch and Ebba — a happy exchange — instead 
of Egfrid and Ermenburga, his troubles settling down 
into the quietness of an ' apostleship,' which might 
for a while seclude the man whose name had been 
heard through Europe, but which in the general estimate 
of his life may be truly said to constitute its crown." ^ 
In 709 it was determined by a West Saxon synod 
that the South Saxons, who had up to that time been 
included in the diocese of Winchester, should have a 
bishop of their own and Eadbert abbot of Selsey was Eadbert 
consecrated as bishop of Selsey. There were 22 bishops ^Ihey, ""^ 
of Selsey prior to the Norman Conquest, after which ^^^' 
the site of the see was moved to Chichester. 

The Conversion of the East Saxons 
The kingdom of the East Saxons, which included the 
town of London, was founded by Erchenwin about 527. 

^ Bede iv. 13. church on this site was built by 

2 That Wilfrid laboured in Meon- Wilfrid. The name Meonwara is pre- 

wara, i.e. the eastern half of Hamp- served in the names East Meon and 

shire, which was given by Wulf here to West Meon. 

Ethelwalch, is suggested by an in- ^ Chapters of Early Eng. Ch, Hist 

scription in the porch of Warnford p. 317. 

church which states that the original 


Conver- The AngloSaxou Chronicle for 604 reads, " This year 
iSng^ the East Saxons received the faith and baptism under 
Sabert, g^jj^g Sabert and Bishop MeUitus." As we have already 
noted, on the death of Sabert his three sons professed 
Meiiitus idolatry and forced MeUitus to leave London in 616. 
bury. He returned to London in the following year at the 
request of the Kentish king, but, as the inhabitants 
of London refused to receive him, he retired to Canter- 
bury and in 619 he became archbishop. From 616 
to 653 London and the country that now forms the 
county of Essex remained heathen. The story of the 
Re-con- re-couvcrsiou of London and of the East Saxons which 
London, is giveu by Bede was supplied to him by Nothelm, who 
was archpresbyter of London and afterwards archbishop 
of Canterbury, and has a good claim to be regarded as 
authentic. Sigebert the Good, who became king of the 
East Saxons shortly before 653, was a friend of Oswy 
the king of Northumbria, and on the occasion of his 
visits to Northumbria Oswy " used to endeavour to 
make him understand that those could not be gods 
that had been made by men's hands, that a stock or 
stone could not afford material wherewith to create 
a god, the remains of which were burned as firewood, 
or made into vessels for common use or thrown out 
as refuse and trodden into the ground : that God is 
rather to be regarded as incomprehensible in majesty, 
invisible to human eyes, omnipotent and eternal, who 
created the heaven and the earth and the race of man, 
who governed and will judge the world in equity, 
whose eternal seat we must believe to be not in vile 
and decaying matter but in heaven ; and that it ought 
to be assumed that all who have learned and done 


the will of their Creator will receive from Him eternal 
rewards." ^ 

King Oswy's arguments eventually prevailed and Baptism 
Sigebert and his companions and attendants were bap- bert by 
tized by Bishop Finan at or about the same time ^' ^^^' 
as Peada of Mercia was baptized. After his baptism 
Sigebert begged Oswy to send Christian teachers to act 
as missionaries to his people, and accordingly Cedd, aCedd. 
brother of Chad who became bishop of Lichfield, with 
another priest went to preach to the East Saxons. 
" When these two, travelling to all parts of the country, 
had gathered a numerous church to our Lord," Cedd 
returned to Lindisfarne to confer with Bishop Finan 
and was by him consecrated as bishop of the East 
Saxons. Returning to Essex Cedd " built churches in 
several places and ordained priests and deacons to 
assist him in the work of faith and in the ministry of 
baptism." ^ The two centres of his work specially 
mentioned by Bede are Ythancestir^ and Tilaburg, 
the modern Tilbury. At these places he " gathered a 
flock of the servants of Christ and taught them the dis- 
cipline of regular life, as far as these rude people were 
as yet able to receive it." After some time Sigebert Murder of 
was murdered by two of his relations, who alleged as ^^® 
their reason for committing the crime that " they hated 
him because he was too ready to spare his enemies and 
to forgive the wrongs done to him by those who asked 
his pardon." His successor, Suidhelm, was baptized Baptism 
by Cedd in the province of the East Angles, Ethelwald SuidMm. 
king of the East Angles acting as his godfather. During 

^ Bede iii. 22. the Roman camp at Othona near 

* Id. Tillingham in Essex. 

^ Probably to be identified with 


Ceddin one of Cedd's visits to Yorkshire Ethelwald, who ruled 
sMre. over the Deiri, invited him " to accept some land to 
build a monastery to which the king himself might 
frequently resort to pray to the Lord and to hear the 
word, and in which he might be buried when he died." ^ 
The site selected was Laestingaen, which is usually 
identified with Lastingham near Whitby .^ Referring 
to its foundation Bede writes : " Complying with the 
wish of the king, he chose for himself a place to build 
a monastery among craggy and remote mountains, 
which looked more like lurking-places for robbers and 
retreats for wild beasts than habitations for men, so 
that in accordance with the prophecy of Isaiah, ' in 
the habitations where before dragons dwelt might be 
grass with reeds and rushes,' that is that the fruits of 
good works should spring up where before beasts were 
wont to dwell, or men to hve after the manner of beasts." ^ 
Death of In this monastery, soon after the synod of Whitby 
Cedd,664. ^gg^^^ (.^^^ ^.^^ ^j ^^^ plague and was buried. As an 

illustration of the love with which Cedd inspired his 
fellow- workers we may note the fact, recorded by Bede, 
that when the news of the death of their bishop reached 
Cedd's monastery in Essex, " about thirty men came 
thither (to Lastingham) being desirous either to hve 
near the body of their father, if it should please God, 
or to die and be buried there. After being lovingly 
received by their brethren and fellow-soldiers (in Christ) 
they all died there by the aforesaid pestilence, except 
one little boy." This boy lived to become a priest and 
to be '' useful to many in the church." 

1 Bede iii. 23. side. See The Conversion of the 

2 Bp. Browne suggests that the Heptarchy, p. 151. 
site was Kirkdale, near Kirkby Moor- ^ Bede iii. 23. 


Although Cedd was bishop of the East Saxons in whose 
territory London was situated, he is never referred to as 
bishop of London and it seems probable that the leaning 
towards paganism of the inhabitants of London caused 
him to fix the centre of his diocese elsewhere. At this 
time there were two kings of the East Saxons, Sighere Kings 
and Sebbi, both of whom owed allegiance to the king of and Sebbi. 
Mercia as their superior lord. Sighere apparently ruled 
over those who lived in or near London. Bede savs 
that in consequence of the ravages of the plague of which 
Cedd died " Sighere, with that part of the people that 
was under his dominion, forsook the mysteries of the a heathen 
Christian faith and turned apostate. For the king ^^^^ ^^^ 
himself and many of the people and of the great men 
being fond of this life, and not seeking one to come, 
nor believing that there was such, began to restore the 
idol temples which had been abandoned and to worship 
images, as if by these they might be protected against 
the mortaUty."! When news of what had happened 
reached Wulf here the king of Mercia, he sent Jaruman Bp. Jaru- 
the bishop of Lichfield " to correct the error and to London, 
restore the truth." His mission proved a remarkable ^^^• 
success, and having travelled far and wide throughout 
the country, " he led again both the people and the king 
into the way of righteousness, so that, forsaking or 
destroying the temples and altars that they had made, 
they opened the churches and rejoiced to confess the 
name of Christ which they had opposed, desiring rather 
to die in Him with the faith of the resurrection than to 
Hve in the filth of apostasy among their idols." ^ Their 
task having been accomplished, " the priests and 

1 Bede iii. 30. a i^j. 



teachers returned home with joy." Sebbi the other 
king of the East Saxons had not apostatized, but, 
" together with all his people, had devoutly preserved 
the faith which he had embraced." ^ 
Bp. wini. Cedd was succeeded by the simoniacal bishop Wini, 
to whom reference has already been made.^ From 
this time forward the profession of the Christian faith 
by the East Saxons continued without any further 
pagan reaction. 


There is no evidence available to enable us to deter- 

Cornish mine the date at which Christianity was introduced 

. -j^^^ Cornwall. Of the three or four hundred early 

crosses which have been found none apparently date 

back earher than the fifth century,^ and, if we may 

judge by the dedications of the Cornish churches, it 

would seem to be hkely that the first churches were 

Traces of crcctcd during the fifth century. Several churches are 

Sr"" dedicated to GaUican saints, e.g. to Germanus of Auxerre, 

Hilary of Poitiers and Martin of Tours. A connection 

between the Christianity of Cornwall and Brittany is 

suggested by the dedication of churches to Brioc the 

founder of Treguier, Winwolus founder of Landeveneck, 

Ninnoca the foundress of Lan Ninnoc, Sampson and 

Budoc, bishops of Dol. Churches are also dedicated 

Welsh to Welsh saints, e.g. Cybi, Carranog, Petrock,^ David 

^^^^' and Govan, and to Irish saints, e.g. Columba, Colan, 

saints. i rjj^^ sarcophagus containing the Langdon, 1896: Haddan and Stubbs, 

bones of Sebbi was in St. Paul's i. 163 f. 

cathedral until the fire. See Bede ^ According to the Vita 8. Petroci 

lY. 11. he was an uncle of St. Cadoc, see 

2 See above, p. 138. Acta SS. March 5. 

3 See Old Cornish Crosses, by A. G. 


Hya, Piran (Kiaran),^ Sennen, Feock and Rumon (Ruan), 
also to Irish virgins, e.g. Bylaca, Burian and la. A 
few Saxon or Danish saints are also represented, e.g. 
Cuthbert, Dunstan, Werburgh, Menefrida and Olave. 

The dedications of the churches suggest that Cornwall Cornwall 
was more closely connected with Brittany and South ^th^^ ^ 
Wales than with Ireland, or the rest of Britain, and the fnd s!^^ 
character and ornamentation of the early crosses Wales. 
harmonize with this supposition. It is not impossible 
that Christianity was first introduced from Brittany. 
Kenstec, bishop of Dinnurrin in Cornwall, professed 
obedience to Archbishop Ceolnoth, circ. 870.^ The 
British Church of Cornwall became subject to the see 
of Canterbm-y during the reign of Athelstan, 925-940, 
and apparently the first Saxon bishop was appointed 
in 950.3 

Sulpicius Severus states that the PrisciUianist 
bishops Instantius, Asarinus and the deacon AureUus 
were banished in 380 to the Scilly Isles. This statement The SciUy 
may perhaps be taken to show that there was a Christian ^^^^^^• 
community in the Islands at this period.* 

^ According to the Vita 8. Pirani, is late and untrustworthy. 

Piran was bishop of Saighir in Ireland. ^ See Haddan and Stubbs, p. 674. 

He is said to have been a contempor- ^ Id. i. 683. 

ary of St. Patrick, and to have died ^ S. Sev. Hist. Sobc. ii. 51. 
at Padstow. This tradition, however, 



Early Of the missionaries who introduced Christianity into 

ions, ^^j^g 1 ^^^ q£ ^|g eariy development in that country 

little is known, and most of the traditions that have 

come down to us, as for example those relating to the 

work of Germanus and David, are unhistorical. 

Thus Haddan and Stubbs, after referring to the 
existing Lives of Dubricius, David, Cadoc, lUtud, 
Samson, Finian, Brandan, Gildas and others who are 
reported to have lived in or to have visited Wales, 
write, " No lives among the above can claim to approach 
to history. That of St. David by Ricemarch, that of 
Gildas by the Monk of Ruys . . . were written about 
four or five, the rest (except perhaps the earliest one 
of St. Samson) five or six centuries after the deaths of 
their respective subjects, and they are all simply his- 
torical legends, but of persons who for the most part 
really existed." ^ 

A tradition which has no historical value and which 

Bran. first appeared in the eleventh century states that Bran 

1 The word Wales (or Wealas) title of West Wales, 
meant foreigners and was applied ^ Councils and Ecclesiastical Docu- 
by the Saxons to the Britons who mentSy i. p. 161 n. It should, how- 
retired before them westwards. The ever, be stated in justice to Rice- 
country which is now called Wales march that some of the documents of 
was formerly called North Wales, which he made use he believed to be 
and Devon and Cornwall bore the contemporary with St. David. 

WALES 153 

the father of Caradog or Caractacus was converted 
to Christianity when a captive in Rome, circ. 51, and 
on his return to Wales introduced Christianity into that 

According to the comparatively late tradition 
Germanus, bishop of Auxerre,^ who came to England Germanus 
in 429 in order to combat Pelagianism, went on to Wales, *^ 
and by his prayers secured for the Welsh chiefs near 
the River Dee a victory over the Pictish pirates, which 
came to be known as the Alleluia victory. As a 
result of this victory he was able to found the monasteries 
of Llancarvan and Llanilltyd from which most of the 
other Welsh monasteries eventually sprang. The tradi- 
tion further asserts that Germanus consecrated Dub- 
ricius as bishop and dedicated the palace at Llandaft 
to the Apostle St. Peter. It is doubtful whether any 
part of this tradition ought to be accepted as historical. 
As Germanus died in 448 and Dubricius probably lived 
till 610, the latter, if the tradition be correct, must 
have been nearly 200 when he died.^ 

The author of the Life of Samson in the Acta Sanct- 
orum (July 6) states that Germanus ordained the 
priest Illtut^ (egregius magister Britannorum), who 
founded the monastery of Llantwit (Llanilltyd). 

This monastery in which Illtut is said to have lived, lutut. 
was apparently situated on the island of Caldy off the 
the coast of Pembrokeshire. His pupils included Gildas, 
Samson and Paul Aurelian. He was probably an 

^ See H. & Stubbs, i. p. 22. ^ Haddan and Stubbs regard the 

^ See Life of Germanus by J. H. connection of Germanus with Wales 

Newman {Lives of English Saints) as " unhistorical," and " mixed up 

p. 150. See also Life of Germanus with evident fiction." 

by Constantius in Acta Sanctorum ^ The Life of Illtut is published by 

for July 31. Rees in the Canibro- British Saints. 


Armorican Briton, but the earliest life of him, which 
is not earlier than the twelfth century, is so obviously 
unhistorical that it is difficult to be sure of any details 
in regard to his life and work. 

Christian It is probable that Christianity was first spread in 

s.^ Wales. South Walcs by Picts who had become Christians as 
the result of the labours of St. Ninian, or his followers, 
the centre of whose work was the monastery of Candida 
Casa or Witherne on the west side of Wigtown Bay. 
The date of the building of this monastery is 396 
or 397.1 

Dubricius. Of the life of Dubricius little or nothing can be cer- 
tainly ascertained. He is said to have been a grandson 
of Brychan, king of Brecknockshire, and to have be- 
come archbishop of Caerleon,^ which post he resigned 
on the occasion of the Synod of Llanddewibrefi in order 
that David might be appointed as his successor. He is 
venerated as the founder of the see of Llandaff. Dub- 
ricius is a prominent character in the story of King 
Arthur as related by Geoffrey of Monmouth. The date 
of his death suggested by Rees is 522, but this is a 
much earher date than that usually accepted. 

St. David. The date of St. David (Dewi), the best known of the 
Welsh saints, and the only one whose name appears in 
the English calendar, is a matter of dispute. Accord- 
ing to the Annales Cambrice^ our earliest authority, he 
died in 601, this date being accepted by Haddan and 
Stubbs. Rees, the author of Cambro- British Saints^ 
places it, however, in 566. His earliest known bio- 
graphy was written by Ricemarch, who lived at 

^ Celtic Scotland, by W. E. Skene, ^ Caerleon-on-Usk was near New- 

ii. 2. See also Bede, Eccl. Hist. iii. port in Monmouthshire, 
4; Haddan and Stubbs, 11, 105, 

WALES 155 

the close of the eleventh century,^ From this later 
biographers have drawn most of their materials. 
Most of the details given by them, such as his visit to 
Jerusalem to be consecrated as a bishop, are piu-ely 
legendary. His appointment as archbishop of Wales, 
as a result of his success in combating the Pelagian 
heresy, is also unhistorical, as Wales possessed no 
archbishop at any period of its history. Of the facts 
relating to his Hfe which may perhaps be true the 
following are the most important. His father is said 
to have been the Chief of Keretica, the modern Cardi- 
ganshire. Educated in the college of Paulinus, who 
was a pupil of Germanus, he subsequently spent ten 
years in the study of the Holy Scriptures and after- 
wards founded, or restored, a monastery, or college, 
and, after residing for a time at Caerleon-on-Usk, moved 
to Menevia (St. Davids), of which he became bishop. It 
has been plausibly suggested that the choice of so 
remote a site was due to the fact that the tide of Saxon 
conquest drove the Celtic inhabitants of Wales to 
cultivate closer relations with their brethren in Ireland.^ 
He was canonized by Pope CaUixtus about 1120. 

Although the encomium of Giraldus, one of his 
biographers, is not founded on satisfactory historical 
evidence, we may well believe his description to be 
substantially true. He wrote of St. David that he was 
" a mirror and pattern to all, instructing both by word 
and example, excellent in his preaching, but still more 
so in his works. He was a doctrine to all, a guide to 

^ A short notice of St. David ^ Giraldus describes the site of 

appears in the Life of Paul Aurelian, Menevia as "Angulus remotissimus, 

written about 200 years before the terra saxosasteriUsinfecunda." Itin. 

time of Ricemarch. Camb, ii. 1, 


the religious, a life to the poor, a support to orphans, 

a protection to widows, a father to the fatherless, a 

rule to monks, and a model to teachers, becoming all to 

all, that so he might gain all to God." 

The wear- From Very early times the Welsh have worn a leek 

lefk ^ on St. David's Day (March 1 ), in memory of the battle 

against the Saxons at which they wore leeks in their 

hats by David's advice in order to distinguish them 

Taffy. from their enemies. The name Taffy, to which every 

Welshman responds, is a variation of David. 

The description given by his biographer of the rule 
of life established by David at Menevia was written 
many centuries after his time, and cannot be regarded 
The as historical, but it is nevertheless interesting as showing 
teryat the idcals which those who came after attributed to 
him. His biographer writes — " Knowing that seciu^e 
rest was an incentive to ill, and the mother of vices, he 
subjected the shoulders of the monks to divine labours 
. . . therefore with a view to their benefit they labour 
with their hands, and put the yoke to their shoulders 
. . . they obtain all the necessaries of life for their 
congregation by means of their own labour, they refuse 
possessions, they reject the gifts of unjust men, they 
detest riches, they make no use of oxen for ploughing. 
Every one is rich to himself : when the work is com- 
pleted no murmuring is heard : no discourse is had 
but what is necessary, and every one either prays or 
rightly performs his appointed work. . . . They are 
dressed in cheap clothing, principally made of skins." 
Of the head of the monastery he writes, "The father 
shedding daily abundance of tears and perfuming 
the mats with the sacrifice of prayer, and sweet with a 

tery at 

WALES 157 

double warmth of love and fragrance, consecrated the 
appointed oblation of our Lord's body with clean hands. 
. . . Also he sought cold water at some distance, where 
by remaining long therein, and becoming frozen, he 
might subdue the heat of the flesh." ^ 

Giraldus states, that all the bishops of St. Davids 
rigidly abstained from eating flesh until the thirty- 
third bishop, Morgenev, who was killed by Danish 
pirates as a punishment for having eaten meat. 

If the traditions relating to St. Kentigern that are St. Ken- 
recorded by Jocelyn can be accepted, he came on a visit waies. 
to Bishop David about 545, and a little later founded 
the monastery of Llanelwy (St. Asaph's), which soon 
afterwards contained 965 brethren. Before leaving Wales 
(about 573) Kentigern placed his disciple Asaph in charge 
of the monastery. His name, which was afterwards 
given to the place, became also the name of a bishopric. 

Cadoc is said to have founded a monastery and st. Cadoc. 
several churches in South Wales in the latter part of the 
sixth century. Professor Rees writes, " The discre- 
pancies and anachronisms in all the accounts of St. 
Cadoc, or Cattwg, can ojoly be accounted for by sup- 
posing that two or three individuals have been con- 
founded together, and this appears to have been the 
case in other instances as well as this — ^hence has arisen 
the necessity of lengthening the lives of our Welsh saints 
to something Uke double the usual average of human 
existence, and it has been even asserted that the usual 
duration of life in the county of Glamorgan was 120 
years." ^ 

1 See Vita S. David in Rees' Lives 127 f. and 429-31. 
of the Cambro- British Saints, pp. * Camhro- British Saints, p. 395. 


The Saxon monk, Bede, to whom we are indebted 
for several important statements relating to the Celtic 
Church both in Wales and in Scotland, was prejudiced 
against all things Celtic, and in particular against the 
Celtic Church whereinsoever it differed from the Latin. 
It is clear that the contest between Augustine and 
Dinoth turned not upon the questions relating to the 
keeping of Easter, and the ceremonial of baptism, that 
are mentioned by Bede,^ but upon issues of greater and 
Christian morc vital importance. Towards the close of the 
in Wales, scvcuth ccutury the Christian Church in Wales received 
many recruits from the number of the Christians who 
had been oppressed by the pagan Saxons and who fled 
for refuge to Wales. Thus Chaucer writes — 

'^ To Walys fled the cristianitee 
Of olde Britons^ dwelling in this ile." ^ 

Celtic A general characteristic of Celtic Christianity was 

Chris- . . 

tianity, its independence of all control from outside. In Wales, 
pendent ^s in Scotland and Ireland, its development was in 
character, accordaucc with tribal as opposed to imperial ideas and 
institutions. In Saxon England the Chiu'ch asserted 
almost from the first an equality with the State, but 
amongst the Celts the Church became the handmaid of 
the State or rather of the tribe. It is not surprising 
therefore to learn that when a tribe decided to accept 
Christianity a large number of tribal customs which 
were of pagan origin were retained. 

The establishment of monasteries and of monastic 

^ Hist. Eccl. ii. 2. The Celtic ing in 755 (or 768) and the south 

method of reckoning Easter was Welsh in 777 (see Haddan and 

continued in Wales till the middle Stubbs, i. 204). 

of the eighth century. The north ^ Tale of the Man of Lawe. 
Welsh adopted the EngHsh reckon- 

WALES 159 

institutions was a principal means by which the mis- 
sionary work of the Celtic Church was accomplished. 

The Celtic monasteries, especially those in Ireland 
and Wales, differed both in origin and character from 
those founded by Latin monks. Thus Montalembert 
writes : " The first great monasteries of Ireland were 
nothing else . . . than clans reorganized under a 
religious form. From this cause resulted the extra- 
ordinary number of their inhabitants, who were counted 
by hundreds and thousands." ^ The monasteries were 
subject to no general rule or control, and in some cases, 
at any rate in Ireland, up to the middle of the sixth 
century, the inmates included women and children. 

" Whatever else they were, neither the Celtic monks Celtic 
nor the Celtic clergy in Ireland or Wales ever professed not neces- 
to be a body of celibates, and this fact goes far to prove ceiibltes. 
that the monasticism of Wales was not due to Germanus, 
nor to any Latin source." ^ The fact that David, when 
he founded his monastery at Menevia, refused to allow 
any women to reside within its enclosure, suggests that 
a different practice had previously prevailed. 

Contact with Latin monks on the continent probably 
led to the adoption of a regular rule by the Celtic monks. 
The rule, however, of Columbanus does not appear to 
have been adopted either in Ireland or Wales. To- 
wards the end of the sixth century the monasteries 
tended to become more and more schools of learning. 

A modern writer thus refers to the low type of 
Christianity which prevailed in Wales in the fourth 
and following centm*ies. 

1 The Monks of the West, iii. 86. 

2 The Celtic Church in Wales, by Willis Bund, p. 162. 




Wekh " Wales from the end of the fourth century has never 

Chris- nominally relapsed into heathendom. Probably this 
was because the establishment of Christianity being on 
the Irish lines of tribal settlements, and those settle- 
ments being left to themselves, the Welsh Christians 
absorbed practically the whole of the existing customs 
of the Goidelic Celts and called this mixture Christianity. 
They did not relapse as there was nothing for them to 
relapse into, as their Christianity was only a modified 
form of paganism." ^ 

Welsh The number of bishops in Wales in early times was 

very great as compared with the number in England. 
Haddan and Stubbs, whilst they deny that the Irish 
and Scotch custom prevailed of having bishops who dis- 
charged episcopal functions but possessed no juris- 
diction, admit that Wales in early times possessed 
bishops who were not diocesan, but presided over mon- 
astic or educational institutions. ^ Some indication of 
the number of Welsh bishops that existed in the sixth 
century may be obtained from the statement that at 
the Welsh synod of Llanddewibrefi there were 118 
bishops present. 

Welsh It would appear that the term Saint was used by the 

Welsh in early times only less freely than was the case 
in Ireland. Thus the total number of Welsh saints is 
between 400 and 500. After the beginning of the eighth 
century only four additions were made to the list. 

Virgin Amongst the Welsh saints are included several 

Virgins. Of these perhaps the most famous is St. Keyne 
who, like St. Hilda, is said to have turned serpents 

^ The Celtic Church of Wales, by ^ Councils and Ecclesiastical Docu- 

Willis Bund, pp. 139 f. ments, i. pp. 142 f. 



WALES 161 

into stones and, like St. Audrey, to have caused a spring 
to burst forth from dry ground. She is said to have 
Uved a soUtary and ascetic hfe at Keynsham, near 
Bristol, and afterwards in Cornwall. When she was 
about to die she had a vision of an angel who stripped 
her of her hair-cloth and " put on her a singular white 
vesture and a garment of scarlet wrought with gold," 
and said to her : " Be in readiness to go with us that 
we may bring thee to the kingdom of thy Father." ^ 

Referring to the failure of the Welsh to attempt the 
evangelization of the Saxons,^ Haddan and Stubbs 
write, " It is remarkable that while Scots (Irish) were 
the missionaries par excellence of nearly all Eiu'ope 
north of the Alps, and in particular of all Saxon England 
north of the Thames, not one Cumbrian, Welsh or 
Cornish missionary to any non-Celtic nation is men- 
tioned anywhere. . . . The same remark appKes also 
to the Armorican Britons." ^ 

^ See Acta 88., Oct. 8, also Nova » H. & Stubbs, i. 154. Ninian may 

Legenda, i. 103 ff. perhaps be regarded as an exception. 

2 See above, pp. 95, 97. He was a Briton from Strathclyde. 



The campaigns of Julius Caesar, 58-51 B.C., resulted in 
the incorporation of the whole -of Gaul in the Roman 
Empire. At this time the religion of its people, or at 
any rate of a large proportion of them, was a form of 
Druidism Druidism, the chief centres of worship being at Dreux, 
Gaur'^""* Chartres, and Autun. Druidism had, however, dis- 
appeared throughout a large part of Gaul before the 
arrival of Christian missionaries, the influence of its 
hierarchy having been undermined partly by the action 
of Tiberius, who had prohibited the human sacrifices 
that formed part of the Druidical ritual, and partly 
by the application to their judicial and political assem- 
blies of the Roman law relating to illicit associations.^ 
Whilst Druidism, or Druidical worship, had been gradu- 
ally assimilated to the worship of the Roman gods, the 
worship of Isis and Mithra had been introduced from 
the East and claimed a considerable number of ad- 
herents. In the time of St. Martin, who lived in the 
fourth century, and even as late as the time of Gregory 
of Tours, Druidism still prevailed in certain districts. 
By the time that the Christian faith first began to 
penetrate the country Roman culture and in some dis- 
tricts Roman towns had been established. At the end 

1 See Lavisse, Histoire de France, i. 415 ff. 


of the fourth century, when Christian Missions first 
began to spread, the Roman prefecture of Gaul included 
Belgium and the greater part of Switzerland, but the 
present chapter deals only with that part of Gaul which 
now constitutes France. 

According to a statement of Gregory of Tours, a Bishop 
bishop named Dionysius was sent to Gaul, together ^^^^^^^^^' 
with six other bishops, during the reign of the Emperor 
Decius (249-251 ).i Early in the ninth century Alcuin, 
abbot of the monastery of St. Dionysius, suggested 
that this Dionysius was identical with Dionysius the 
Areopagite, and declared that he was sent to Gaul by 
Clement of Rome ; and at the Council of Constance 
in 1417 the claim was definitely advanced by the French 
bishops that their country was first evangelized by 
Dionysius the Areopagite, but the claim has no historical 
foundation. Other legends of a later date assert that 
Lazarus and Mary Magdalene first brought the Gospel 
to GauL2 

Of the beginnings of missionary work in Gaul we Persecu- 
have no trustworthy information, the first clear in- Lyons\nd 
dication that such work had been attempted and that n?^"^^' 
a local Christian Church had been established being 
the account of the martyrdom of the aged bishop 
Pothinus, together with a number of other Christians, 
at Lyons in 177. This account is contained in a letter, 
part of which is preserved by Eusebius,^ and was written 

1 Historia Francorum, Bk. i. 28. sage was interpreted as denoting 

2 Bishop Lightfoot regards as European Gaul by Eusebius, Epipha- 
deserving of consideration the tradi- nius and Theodore. See Lightfoot 's 
tion that Creseens, mentioned in EpisUe to the Galatians, p. 31 n. : see 
2 Tim. iv. 10, was the founder of also The Christian Church in Gaul, 
the churches of Vienne and Mayence. by T. Scott Holmes, pp. 15 ff. 
Va\a.Tla (or VaWia) in this pas- ^ H. E., v. 1-3. 


by some of the surviving Christians at Lyons and Vienne 
in order to acquaint their brethren in Asia with what 
had befallen their fellow-Christians. It is one of the 
most detailed and illuminating accounts of a Christian 
persecution that have come down to us, and, though 
it tells us nothing concerning the missionary work of 
which the persecution was the outcome, it affords evi- 
dence that this work had been effective. From the letter 
and from a few additional details suppUed by Gregory 
of Tours we gather that the bishop and about a third 
of the martyrs, who numbered forty-eight,^ bore Greek 
names and were probably Greeks, three at least being 
natives of Asia Minor. The deacon Sanctus, who 
was apparently the head of the Church in Vienne, was 
one of the martyrs. The first uprising against the 
Christians occurred in June 177. Slaves were tortured 
in order by their evidence to convict the Christians of 
abominable crimes, and the Christians who were arrested 
in Lyons and Vienne were exposed to the wild beasts, 
or subjected to cruel and prolonged torture in order 
to induce them to deny their faith, with the result 
that ten of them recanted through fear of torture. 
Martyr- The aged bishop 2 himself continued constant in the 
pTMnus, faith, and when, standing before the tribunal of the 
legate, he was asked by him who was the God of the 
Christians, he repUed, " If thou art worthy thou shalt 
know." Two days later he died as the result of the 
ill-treatment to which he had been subjected. Another 
and martyr whose name became celebrated was the servant- 

Biandina. ^^-^ Blandiua.^ She remained constant under long- 

1 Gregory of Tours, Lib. de gloria ^ See Homily by Eucherius of 
Martyrum, chap. 48. Lyons : Migne, P. L. I 859, 

2 He was ninety years old. 


protracted tortures, and after being tossed by wild 
bulls was at last killed by the blow of an executioner. 
In the case of Attains, a Roman citizen of repute, who 
was one of the mart3n:*s, his execution was deferred 
luitil direct authorization from the Emperor had been 
received by the legate. One of the survivors was 
Irenaeus, the priest of Lyons, who had been ordained iren«us, 
priest by Pothinus, and was afterwards consecrated by Lyonl 
the bishop of Rome as the second bishop of Lyons. 
His episcopate served to connect the Gallic Church 
with the immediate successors of the Apostles, for, as 
he tells us, when staying with Polycarp at Smyrna he 
had heard him describe to the Christians at Smyrna 
his intercourse with St. John and with others who had 
seen the Lord. 

Two others who are said to have suffered martyrdom 
in 177 are Epipodius, a citizen of Lyons, and Alexander, 
a Greek.^ Lightfoot considers that there is no impro- 
babiUty in the tradition that Benignus, who became 
the patron saint of Dijon, was sent by Polycarp, bish^ 
of Smyrna (d. 155), to evangehze Gaul.^ He is said 
to have suffered martyrdom with Andochius, his com- 
panion at Viviers. 

Apart from the evidence afforded by the Greek names The 
of the martyrs,^ the language in which the letter is written, p^eXmi- 
and which was used by Irenaeus a little later, tends to q^^^{ 
show that the Church was at this time predominantly 
Greek. Moreover, half a century later, Greek, rather 
than Latin,^ was the language of educated people in 

^ The earliest mention of their ^ Apostolic Fathers, i. 447. 

names is by Eucherius of Lyons, » No Celtic names are included in 

circ. 440. See also Gregory of Tours, the list. 

Liber de gloria Martyrum, 49. * For an attempt to prove from 


Southern Gaul/ but, on the other hand, Irenaeus ex- 
cuses himself from speaking Greek fluently on the 
ground that he had to preach in Celtic : he refers also 
to Christians and Churches amongst the Celts. 
Other We gather also from Irenseus that at this time, apart 

Church^es. ^"^^^ ^hc Christian Churches or communities that were 
to be found at Lyons and Vienne, in the province of 
Narbonne, there were others in Aquitania, Germania, 
and the Celtic lands beyond the Loire. After referring 
to these, he writes, " In agreement with which are 
many barbarian nations who believe in Christ, having 
salvation written by the Spirit in their hearts, and not 
with ink or pen, who preserve, however, the ancient 
tradition with care." ^ Soon after the persecution at 
St. Sym- Lyons Symphorian was martyred at Autun,^ of which 
phorian. -^.^ father was a senator. The words addressed to 
him by his mother, '' Oh, my son, my son Symphorian, 
remember the living God : be of good courage, my son ; 
to-day, by a happy exchange, thou wilt pass away to 
eternal life," are incorporated in the " Immolatio of 
the mass de Symphoriano " in the Gothic Missal. 
Ferreoius Early in the third century a priest Ferreolus, and a 
deacon Ferrutio, are said to have suffered martyrdom 
at Besangon, and three other Christians at Valence, but 
the evidence for these martyrdoms is unsatisfactory.^ 
Other references to the early establishment of Christian 
communities in Gaul are the statements of Salpicius 

the Biblical quotations in the letter ^ contra Hceres. iii. 4. 

that Christian worship was already ^ For reference to St. Symphorian 

conducted in Gaul in the Latin see Gregory of Tours, De gloria 

tongue see Texts and Studies, by Martyrum, 76. 

J. A. Robinson, i. 2, pp. 97 f. * See Duchesne, Fastes Episco- 

1 Harnack, Expansion of Christi- paux, i. pp. 48, 50-54. 
anity, ii. 260 n. 



Severus/ who writes : " Under AureKus, the son of 
Antoninus, the fifth persecution broke out. And then 
for the first time martyrdoms were seen taking place 
in Gaul, for the reKgion of God had been accepted 
somewhat late beyond the Alps." The same writer, 
referring to the reign of Constantine, says : " It is 
marvellous how the Christian religion has prevailed." 2 

The author of the Passio Saturnini of Toulouse The Pa^^zo 
writes : " After the sound of the Gospel stole out gradu- '^^^^'"^*^*- 
ally and by degrees {sensim et gradatim) into all the 
earth, and the preaching of the apostles shone through- 
out our country with but a slow progress, since only a 
few Churches in some of the States, and these con- 
taining but few Christians, stood up together in their 
devotion to their religion. . . ."^ 

It is probable that during the latter part of the 
second century and the early part of the third century 
Lyons formed the chief centre of missionary work in Lyons. 
Gaul. Thus Duchesne writes: "All the Christians 
from the Rhine to the Pyrenees formed only a single 
community, and recognised but one chief, the bishop 
of Lyons." 4 Gregory of Tom's, after referring to the 
persecution that occurred under the Emperor Decius, 
249-251 A.D., says : " In the time of this man seven 
men were consecrated as bishops and sent ^ into Gaul 
to preach, as the story of the passion of the holy martyr 
Saturninus informs us. . . . There were sent to Tours story of 
Bishop Gatianus, to Aries Bishop Trophimus, to Nar- bisVopl!'' 

1 Chronica, ii. 32. s Possibly by Fabian, who became 

2 lb. li. 33. bishop of Rome in 236 and was killed 

3 Passw Saturnini. Ruinart, Acta during the Decian persecution in 
Martyrum, p. 177. 250. 

* Pastes Episcopaux, i. 39. 


bonne Bishop Paul, to Toulouse Bishop Saturninus, 
to Paris Bishop Dionysius, to Auvergne Bishop Stre- 
monius, to Limoges Bishop Martial." ^ This tradition, 
which was well known throughout Gaul in the sixth 
century, has probably some historical basis, but if 
Churches were established at these places by the middle 
of the third century, their existence was in most cases 
subsequently interrupted. Of the work accomplished 
by these seven missionary bishops we know but little. 

St. Of Gatianus, who is said to have been the first bishop 

of Tours, Gregory writes : " In the first year of the Em- 
peror Decius (249) Gatian was sent by the bishop of Rome 
as the first bishop (of Tours), in which city lived a mul- 
titude of pagans who were devoted to idolatry, some 
of whom he converted to the Lord by his preaching. 
But at times he concealed himself owing to the hostility 
of those in power . . . and in caverns and hiding- 
places together with the few Christians who had been 
converted by him he was wont to celebrate secretly 
the Holy Mystery, and in this city under these conditions 
he lived for forty years and died in peace." ^ 

Again he writes : " Gatianus, Trophimus, Stremon- 
ius, Paulus and Martial, after living in the utmost 
sanctity and having gained peoples for the Church, and 
having spread the faith in all parts, departed by a good 

St. Tro- confession." ^ Of Trophimus, who is said to have be- 
come bishop of Aries, Gregory gives no detailed in- 
formation. A later tradition identified him with Tro- 
phimus of Ephesus who was a companion of St. Paul. 
That a Christian Church existed at Aries by the middle 

1 Hist Franc, i. 28. Migne, P. L. gloria Confessorum, 4. 
Ixxi. col. 175. ^ Id. 

2 Hist. Franc, x. 31. Liber de 



of the third century is proved by a letter which Cyprian a Church 
addressed, in 253, to Stephen bishop of Rome, in which ^i 253^^ 
he accuses Marcianus bishop of Aries of having joined 
the Novatian schism. The fact that such an accusa- 
tion was made, suggests that in the Decian persecution 
some of the Christians in Aries had lapsed from their 
profession of the Christian faith. If Trophimus is a 
historical character, he was probably a predecessor of 
this Marcianus. 

Of Paulus Gregory tells us nothing beyond the fact st.Pauius 
that he was sent as bishop to Narbonne. The poet 
Prudentius, who wrote 200 years before the time of 
Gregory, in a brief reference to him, implies that he 
died as a martyr.^ The account of his martyrdom given 
in the Acta Sanctorum for March 3 is of little historic 
value. A late and valueless tradition identifies him 
with Sergius Paulus.^ 

The story of the martyrdom of Saturninus in its St. Satur- 
present form does not probably date earUer than the^*^"^* 
ninth century, though the original may perhaps date 
from the fourth century.^ According to the story, 
Saturninus, who had for some time preached against 
the idolatry of the people of Toulouse, was seized by 
them on the occasion of an idol festival and tied to a 
bull that was being led out for sacrifice. When bidden 

^ " Surget et Paulo speciosa Narbo. " piled by Exuperius bishop of Toul- 

Peristephanon, iv. 35. See Migne, P. L. ouse in 405. Gregory in his History 

lix. (i. 28) says that Saturninus was 

2 See Martyrology of Ado, who was sent from Rome in the third century, 

bishop of Vienne, 860-75. See Migne, but in another place {De gloria 

P. L. col. 201 ff. Martyrum, i. 48) he suggests that he 

® See Surius, Nov. 9. See also was sent by Clement in the first 

Duchesne, Pastes Episcopaux, i. p. century. 
295. The Life was perhaps com- 



by the people to offer sacrifice to the gods, he replied, 
" I know the one true God and will offer to Him the 
sacrifices of praise : your gods I know to be demons." 
He was then fastened by his feet to the bull, and after 
being dragged through the street died of the injuries 
that he had received. 

St. Diony- We havc already referred to the legends which make 
Dionysius the Areopagite a bishop of Paris in the first 
century.^ In a life of St. Genovef a, a heroine who helped 
to divert Attila from his meditated attack on Paris 
in 451, which in its original form may perhaps date 
back to the sixth century, it is stated that Dionysius 
was martyred in Paris. Gregory merely states that he 
was sent to Paris as a missionary bishop during the 
reign of Decius. The martyrology of Usuard of Paris 
{circ. 875) states that he was sent by the bishop of Rome 
to preach the Gospel in Gaul, and that he suffered 
martyrdom on Oct. 9, together with a priest named 
Rusticus and a deacon named Eleutherius. A similar 
statement occurs in the martyrologies of Jerome and 
of Ado.2 There seems little reason to doubt that these 
traditions refer to a genuine historical character, but 
of the nature of his missionary labours we know 

st.strem- Of Strcmouius, or Austremonius, of Auvergne or 
Clermont, Gregory apparently knew nothing but the 
name.^ Sidonius ApolHnaris, who became bishop of 
Clermont in 471, does not refer to Stremonius, but he 

^ See above, p. 163. eighth century, wrote a life of 

2 See below, p. 588. Austremonius, but this has no his- 

2 Hist. Franc, i. 28. Liber de torical value. The reputed tomb of 

gloria Confessorum, xxx. ; Prae- Austremonius was at Issoire. 

jectus, a bishop of Clermont in the 



speaks of a monk named Abraham who was born on the Abraham. 
Euphrates and worked as a missionary among the 
mountains and valleys of Auvergne.^ 

Of Martial Gregory writes that he was sent by the St. 


bishop of Rome to preach in Limoges, and that " hav- 
ing destroyed the superstitious rites connected with 
the worship of their images, and having filled the town 
with believers in the true God, he departed this life." 
Gregory further states that he had come from the 
East. Venantius Fortunatus, writing at the end of 
the sixth century, refers to his tomb at Limoges. 

A doubtful tradition states that the see of Auxerre See of 
was founded about 257 by Peregrinus who was martyred ^^®^®* 
xmder Aurelian.^ The first bishop of Auxerre of whom 
we have any certain knowledge is Amator, who died 
in 418. The disturbed state of Gaul,^ and the inter- 
mittent persecutions which took place during the third 
quarter of the third century rendered the task of 
Christian propaganda difficult, and apparently but 
little progress was attained during this period. The 
list of martyrs includes the names of Pontius,^ who Early 
suffered at Cimiez, near Nice, of Reverianus,^ a bishop, "^^^^^^• 
and Paulus, a priest, and ten companions who suffered 
under Aurelian at Autun ^ ; of Patroclus,' Julia and 

^ Sidonius Apoll. vii. 17 ; Migne, districts. Eutropius (ix. 23) states 

P. L. viii. col. 587. Gregory, Hist. that on one occasion Constantius 

i^ra/ic. ii. 21, "qui fide at que operibus Chlorus killed 60,000 Alemans at 

Abrahae illius prioris refulgebat." Langres. 

See also id. Vitm Patrum, iii. * See Acta SS., May 14, vol. iii. 

2 Duchesne, Pastes Episcopaux, ii. p, 274. 

430. 5 ^cto 8S., June 1. 

^ From 254 to 309 Gaul was sub- ® A bishop of Autun named Re- 
jected to repeated incursions of bar- ticius was present at the Synod of 
barians, which resulted in the de- Rome in 313. 
population of many of the Eastern ^ Acta 88., Jan. 21. 



several others at Troyes ; ^ of Sanctianus, Augustinus, 
Felice, Aubertus ^ and Savinian ^ at Lens. 

The persecution of the Christians in Gaul ceased for 
a time at the death of Aurelian in 275. Diocletian, 
who became Emperor in 284, was at first not ill-disposed 
The towards the Christians. Maximian, however, who 

became the colleague of Diocletian and the ruler of 
the western portion of the Empire in 286 a.d., was a 
strict disciplinarian and greatly resented the growth 
of Christianity in the army, and the refusal of the 
Christian soldiers to obey orders unconditionally. When 
he set out from Milan in 286 to quell some risings which 
had occurred in Gaul, he is reported to have taken with 
him a cohort of a legion that had been raised in the 
Thebaid district in Eg5rpt, and that consisted largely, 
or entirely, of Christians. Whilst marching down the 
Rhone valley and before reaching the lake of Geneva, 
these soldiers learned that they were being led to attack 
some peasantry in Gaul who had been compelled by 
misery and hunger to rise, and many of whom were 
Christians. When the Thebaid soldiers and their 
officers ventured to protest, Maximian ordered every 
tenth man to be killed, and after the cohort had been 
a second time decimated without result he ordered the 
whole cohort to be put to death. An account of this 
massacre is given by Eucherius, bishop of Lyons (434- 
449).^ In later times the cohort, which was at first 
reported to have consisted of 600 men, became magnified 
by tradition to a regiment containing 6000. This 
story, although it was generally accepted by later 

1 Acta S8., July 21. * See Passio Agatmensium mar- 

2 Acta 88., Sep. 7. tyrum. Migne, P. L. 1. 827 ; also 

3 See Migne, P. L., cxlii., col. 777. Gregory, De gloria Martyrum, i. 76. 


writers, cannot be regarded as history, though it has 
certainly an historical foundation. Harnack refers to 
it as " entirely unauthentic." ^ During the time that 
Maximian spent in Gaul and Britain a number of 
Christians, most of whom were soldiers or officers, other 
suffered as martyrs. Of these the best known were "^*^*^®* 
Victor 2 of Marseilles, Genesius ^ of Aries, Julian and 
Ferreolus* of Vienne, and Rogatianus and his brother 
Donatianus ^ of Nantes. The records of their martyr- 
dom are of comparatively late date, but of the fact there 
can be no doubt. The persecution ended in 292 a.d., 
when Constantius Chlorus received the title of Csesar 
and became the ruler of Britain, Gaul, and Spain. 
When the Diocletian persecution occurred in 303 a.d. 
the presence of Constantius in Gaul prevented the edicts 
ordering persecution from becoming effective in that 
country.^ In 313 a.d. the Edict of Milan, issued by 
Constantine and Licinius, which secured to the Christians 
a recognized legal status, was probably followed in 
Gaul, as elsewhere, by large accessions to the Church. 
At the Council of Aries, which was summoned by Con- Council of 
stantine in 314 a.d., in order to adjudicate on the ®^' 
Donatist controversy that had arisen in North Africa, 

^ Expansion of Christianity y^, 267 n. Gregory, De virtuie Sancti Juliani^ i. ; 

2 Passio Victorii, Ruinart, p. 333. Venantius Fortunatus, Ep. viii. 4 ; 
Victor's brave endurance of torture Sidonius Apoll. Ep. vii. 1. 

is said to have led to the conversion ^ Gregory, De gloria Martyrum, 69 ; 

of three other soldiers, Alexander, Ruinart, p. 321. 

Longinus and Felicianus. Gregory ^ That the Diocletian persecution 

of Tours refers to his tomb in Mar- did not become effective in Gaul 

seilles. De gloria Confessortim, Ivi. may be gathered from the fact that 

Migne, P. L. Ixxi. col. 369. at a later date the African Donatists 

3 See Prudentius, Peristephanon, besought Constantine that they might 
iv. ; Gregory, De gloria Martyrum be tried by Galhcan bishops, as these 
68. had never been tempted to become 

* Ruinart, Acta Sincera, p. 489; " traditores." 


twelve bishops from the province of Gaul were pre- 
sent, the titles of their sees being Aries, Treves, Autun, 
Rouen, Rheims, Cologne, Lyons, Marseilles, Vienne, 
Vaison (Vasensis), and Bordeaux. Among those present 
at the Council were also a priest from the city of Orange 
and a deacon from the town of Javols in the Cevennes.^ 
There is no reason to suppose that the dioceses from 
which the Galhcan bishops came possessed any strict 
geographical hmits, but the names of their sees suggest 
that Christianity had been rapidly spreading throughout 
the whole of Gaul. The eighteenth canon passed by 
the Council, that "Urban deacons are to do nothing 
without the knowledge of the priests who are set over 
them," may perhaps be interpreted as referring to 
missionary activities inaugurated by Churches in the 
towns or cities. 

Only one Gallican bishop is known to have been 
at the Council of Nicaea (325), but it is possible that 
others were present whose names have not been 
Atha- In 336 Athanasius arrived at Treves in Gaul, whither 

Galrm ^^ had been banished by Constantine, but on the death 
of Constantine he returned to Alexandria in 338. 

A later indication of the spread of Christianity in 
Gaul is afforded by the fact that thirty-four GaUican 
bishops joined in the decree of acquittal of Atha- 
nasius at the Council of Sardica in 343-344,^ but 

1 See Mansi, Concil. ii. 463. The must assume that the episcopate was 
dioceses of Tours, Toulouse and much more widely spread throughout 
Nar bonne were apparently unrepre- Gaul than we are able to prove in 
sented at this Council. detail. " Expansion of Christianity, ii. 

2 Referring to this bishop, Harnack p. 266 n. 

writes : "If even a small town like ^ Mansi, Cone. iii. 42. 

Die had a bishop in 325 a.d., we 


possibly this number included the representatives 
from Spain. ^ 

Mansuetus, who is said to have been the first bishop Han- 
oi Toul, is represented as an Irishman who became a ^^®*^®- 
disciple of St. Peter and was sent by him to be bishop 
of Toul and to convert the Leuci. The chief authority 
for the story is a Life of Mansuetus by Adso, pubhshed 
in the tenth century. If there be any truth in the story 
it probably concerns an Irish missionary who preached 
at Toul in the fourth or fifth centiu*y. 

In 353 Constantius, who had become sole Emperor, Hilary 
spent the winter at Aries, and as a result of his in- gainst 
fluence the bishop of Aries and several other Grallican ^f^^riTns 
bishops became Arians. Hilary, who had been conse- 
crated as bishop of Poitiers about 350, came forward 
as a champion of the orthodox faith, and having been 
condemned by an Arian Council, which met at Beziers,^ 
was banished to Phrygia in 356. During his exile 
he wrote a work in twelve volumes which he called De 
Fide (afterwards called De Trinitate), which was in- 
tended to explain and refute the teachings of Arius for 
the benefit of the GaUican Christians. In 360 a 
meeting of GaUican bishops at Paris acknowledged 
their previous error and repudiated Arianism, and in 
361 Hilary returned to find that the orthodox faith 
was once again accepted throughout Gaul. Till his 
death in 368 he was the guide and leader of the 
GaUican Church. 

There can be little doubt that during the last seven 
years of his Hfe he endeavoured to spread the faith 

^ On the presence of Gaulish or 125, note 1. 
British bishops at Sardica, see ^ ^ ^.^^^^^ j^^g^j, ^^^ sea-coast not 

Gwatkin, Studies of Arianism^ p. far from Narbonne. 



amongst the pagans who were still to be found in Gaul, 
but unhappily no record of his missionary activities 
has been preserved. The bitter disputes between the 
Arian and the orthodox Christians, and later on between 
the orthodox party and the PriscilKanists, must greatly 
have interfered with the extension of missionary work 
throughout Gaul. 
Martin of In 356 A.D. Martin, a native of Upper Pannonia 
(now included in Hungary), who had attained the rank 
of a military tribune, obtained his discharge from the 
army and arrived at Poitiers. The well-known incident 
of his cutting his military cloak in half in order to 
supply the wants of a beggar at Amiens ^ belongs to 
the previous year. After a brief stay at Poitiers Martin 
set out to cross the Alps in the hope of converting his 
parents in Pannonia, who were still pagans,^ and, after 
being instrumental in the conversion of his mother, he 
lived for two years as a hermit in company with a 
single priest on the island of GaUinaria, near Alassio. 
After the return of Hilary to Poitiers in 361 Martin 
founded a monastery at Locociacum (afterwards known 
as Liguge), near Poitiers,^ and in 372 he became 

1 The story as told by Sulpicius eighteen, he was baptized. 

{Vita, iii.) is briefly this. Noticing ^ a brigand who attacked him 

a beggar at the gate of the city of in the course of this journey is said 

Amiens who was ill-clad and suffer- to have been converted by his 

ing from the cold, Martin, who had preaching. Cf. Fortunatus, Vita 

no money to give, drew his sword Mart. 81. 

and, cutting his military cloak in ^ " it was the first monastery in 

two', gave half to the beggar. The Gaul, the pattern probably of many 

same night Christ appeared to him later groups of little cells, a place 

in a vision clad in the half of the which St. Patrick must have seen, 

coat that he had given to the beggar, the forerunner of Bangor, Clon- 

and said to the angels who stood macnois, lona, Inysvitryn and Lin- 

with him, "Martin, still a cate- disfarne."— Holmes, The Christian 

chumen, covered Me with this robe." Church in. GauU p. 195. 
Soon afterwards, at the age of 


bishop of TourSj at which place he remained till his 
death twenty-five years later. Soon after he became 
bishop he founded the monastery of Marmoutier, about Monastery 
two miles from Tours. This, which was the second ^o^tler. 
monastery founded in Gaul, became the training home 
of many of those to whom the evangelization of Gaul 
was ultimately due. At one time during his episco- 
pate he had eighty monks living with him at 

His biographer makes brief allusions to his missionary Martin's 
labours in a wide circuit round Tours, but devotes much ^(^ary 
time and space to recording the miracles that he is^^^°"^^- 
supposed to have wrought, the detaifs of which we could 
well have spared if only we could have learned more 
concerning his missionary methods and experiences. 

" From Saintes to Treves and from Paris to Brioude 
the whole central district of Gaul was the scene of his 
labours as an evangeUst.^ It was probably as abbot 
of Liguge that he evangeUzed the future dioceses of 
Angouleme and Saintes. It was certainly when he was 
a bishop that he preached the Gospel over the districts 
which afterwards became the dioceses of Blois, Orleans, 
Macon, Chalon-sur-Saone, and in the dioceses, then 
without their bishops, of Langres and Autun. . . . 
The weird and densely wooded districts between the 
ranges of the Morvan and the Cote d'Or, between 
Avallon and Dijon, Dijon and Beaune as far as Autun, 

^ The earliest and only contem- occurrence of which his biographer 
porary authority for the Uf e of Martin evidently believed — c/. his state- 
is Sulpicius Severus, who had known ment, "alioquin tacere quam falsa 
him intimately, and wrote a Life, dicere maluissem." 
Letters and Dialogues. The Life ^ There are 3675 churches in 
abounds in miracles, many of which France dedicated to St. Martin ; see 
are of a puerile character, but in the Lavisse, Histoire de France, ii. 15. 


and westward also to the Loire, claim to be the scene 
of his labours." ^ 

Some conception of his missionary activities can 
be obtained from the statements of Gregory that he 
built churches at Langeais and Sonnay near Tours, 
at Amboise, Tournon, Candes and Ciran la Lutte ; 
he mentions also traces of his work or his cult at Bourges, 
Brives la Gaillarde in Correze, Brevat, Bordeaux, 
Cavaillon, Marsas in Gironde, Neris in AUier, Paris, 
Trois Chateaux, Casignan in Deux Sevres and Mareuil 
on the Cher. Monuments reminiscent of his mis- 
sionary activities are also to be found in Burgundy, 
Nivernais and Forez and in several other districts. 

The pagan people at Chartres, according to Sulpicius, 
were induced to abandon their idols and accept the 
Christian faith after witnessing the restoration to life 
of a dead man as the result of Martin's prayers.^ At 
a village called Leprosum,^ where the people had re- 
sisted his attempts to destroy their richly-endowed 
temple, Martin, having sat by the temple for three days 
in sackcloth and ashes, secured by his prayers the help 
of two angels whose appearance influenced the people 
to allow the destruction of their temple and idols and 
eventually resulted in their conversion to the faith. 

In another village,^ after Martin had set fire to a very 
ancient and celebrated temple, the flames began to 
spread to an adjacent house, but were miraculously 
stayed by his intervention. Whatever credence we 
may give to the miraculous powers exercised by Martin, 
the above incidents, recorded, as they were, by a con- 

1 The Christian Church in Gaul, ^ Vita, c. xiv. 
pp. 210 f. * Id. 

2 Dialogues, ii. 4. 


temporary writer, testify to his missionary zeal, and 
to his success in uprooting pagan worship. 

On many different occasions he took a leading part His de- 
in the destruction of idols or heathen temples, and in ofTdok'' 
several instances the people to whom he preached ^^^ i^^ 
destroyed these at his instigation, and erected in 
their places churches for Christian worship. To quote 
a single instance out of many recorded by Sulpicius : 
'' There was in a certain village (apparently in Burgundy) 
an ancient temple and a tree which was regarded as a sacred 
specially sacred. Although the pagans had con- ^''^^* 
sented to the destruction of the temple, they refused 
to allow Martin to cut down the tree. At length one 
of them suggested that if the bishop beUeved in the 
power of his God to protect him he should stand on 
the spot where the tree was Ukely to fall, while he and 
his companions cut it down. Martin accepted the pro- 
posal with alacrity, and stood on the spot suggested 
by the pagans. When, however, the tree fell, it fell 
amongst the people and left Martin standing unhiu-t." ^ 
The incident was followed by the introduction of 
Christianity into what had previously been a heathen 

There is no evidence to show that Martin was ac- The Celtic 
quainted with the Celtic language, which by his time was ^^^s^^^^- 
gradually being superseded by the Latin from which 
modern French has been derived. By the beginning 
of the sixth centiu'y the Celtic language had passed 
into disuse.2 Its rapid disappearance was partly due 
to the fact that the soldiers, the slaves and the various 
immigrants into France seldom troubled to learn it. 

^ Vita Mart, 13. 2 gg^ Lavisse, Hisioire de France, i. 388 ; ii. 250. 


The spread of Christianity and the recognition of Latin 
as the official language of the Church also tended to 
hasten its disappearance. 
Martin's The life of Martin soon became known in Britain,^ 
E^iand. and the one Christian church which Augustine found 
on his arrival at Canterbury had been dedicated to his 
memory. Archdeacon Hutton, after referring to the 
life of St. Giles, a hermit who Hved in the Rhone valley 
in the seventh century, writes : " The influence of Giles 
and Martin was characteristically GaUican, and it was 
strong and impressive. Most nobly did the Enghsh 
revere the saint who was soldier and missionary. In 
him there was always before them the example of stern 
simphcity, an absolute truthfulness, an absorbing 
missionary zeal." ^ 
His life Martin's biographer writes : " No one ever saw him 
enraged, or excited, or lamenting, or laughing : he was 
always one and the same, displaying a kind of heavenly 
happiness in his countenance, he seemed to have passed 
the ordinary limits of human nature. Never was there 
any word on his Kps but Christ."^ Again, referring 
to his humihty, he writes : " When sitting in his re- 
tirement he never used a chair, and as to the church, 
no one ever saw him sitting there, as I recently saw a 
certain man, not without a feeUng of shame at the 
spectacle, seated on a lofty throne . . . but Martin 

1 Venantius Fortunatus, writing maerentem nemo ridentem : unus 
about 580 a.d., says of Martin, idem que fuit semper, coelestem quo- 
" Quern Hispanus, Maurus, Persa, dammodo Isetitiam vultu praeferens, 
Britannus amat." See Haddan and extra naturam hominis videbatur."— 
Stubbs, i. 13. iSulp. Sev. Vita, c. 27. The words 

2 The English Saints, p. 101. " nemo ridentem " ought not, per- 

3 " Nemo unquam ilium vidit haps, to be interpreted literally, 
iratum nemo commotum, nemo 

and char 


might be seen sitting on a rude Kttle (three-legged) 
stool." 1 

A further explanation of the marvellous spiritual 
influence which Martin exerted, aUke upon his fellow- 
Christians and upon the heathen, is to be found in the 
statement of his biographer : " Never did a single hour 
or moment pass in which he was not either actually 
engaged in prayer ; or, if it happened that he was 
occupied with something else, still he never let his niind 
loose from prayer." It would have been a miracle 
greater than any of those in which his biography abounds 
if his unceasing prayers had not been productive of far- 
reaching results. 

To Martin, more perhaps than to any other great His belief 
missionary whose biography has been preserved, the powers 
struggle between the forces of good and evil was as ^^ ®^^^' 
real as though these forces had been visible to his bodily 
eyes. He constantly asserted that not only saints who 
had Hved in the past, but the devil and his angels, 
appeared in bodily form and conversed with him. It 
may well have been that his success as a missionary 
was partly due to the fact that the victories which 
he believed himself to have won over the powers of 
evil during his long hours of prayer gave him the assur- 
ance of divine support which was the immediate cause 
of his missionary triumphs amongst his heathen neigh- 
bours. That his belief in the saving efficacy of divine 
love knew no limits may be gathered from one of his 
reported conversations with the devil, who had urged 
that " for those who fall after baptism into mortal sin 
there is no mercy," in response to which suggestion 

^ Dialogues, ii. 1. 


Martin cried aloud : "If thou thyself, wretched being, 
shouldst abstain from attacking mankind, and even 
now when the day of judgment is at hand, shouldst 
repent of thy wicked deeds, I would myself fearlessly 
promise thee the mercy of Christ with perfect confidence 
in the Lord." ^ 
His The most celebrated of Martin's visions is that in 

which the devil appeared to him clad in royal apparel 
and, with golden sandals on his feet, asked from 
him the homage due to Christ. " Recognize," said 
Martin's visitor, '' whom you look upon.* I am Christ, 
and I have come down to earth to reveal myself 
to you." As Martin, dazzled by his appearance, pre- 
served a long silence, he added, '' Acknowledge, 
Martin, who it is that you behold. I am Christ, and, 
being about to descend to the earth, I desired first to 
manifest myself to you." Martin continued silent, 
whereupon his visitor continued, " Why do you hesitate 
to believe when you see ? I am Christ." Then Martin 
replied, " The Lord Jesus did not predict that He would 
come clad in purple and with a glittering diadem on His 
head. I will not believe that Christ has come unless He 
wears that garb and form in which He suffered and dis- 
plays before me the marks of His passion." On hearing 
this, his visitor vanished and Martin realized that he had 
been speaking to the devil. Sulpicius states that he 
heard this story from Martin's own mouth.^ In this in- 
stance, and in the case of many of the visions of Martin 
and his contemporaries, it is a matter of no great moment 
to decide how far any objective character can be attri- 
buted to them. In whatever way we interpret the 

1 Vita, c. xxii. ^ Vita, xxiv. 


forms in which they were embodied, the lessons which 
they helped to emphasise are of permanent import. Dr. 
Newman, commenting upon this vision, wrote : " The 
appUcation of this vision to Martin's age is obvious : 
I suppose it means in this day that Christ comes not in 
pride of intellect or reputation for philosophy. These 
are the ghttering robes in which Satan is now arraying. 
Many spirits are abroad, more are issuing from the pit ; 
the credentials which they display are the precious gifts 
of mind, beauty, richness, depth, originality. Christians 
look hard at them with Martin in silence and ask them 
for the print of the nails." ^ 

Another missionary bishop, a younger contemporary victricius. 
of Martin, and who, like him, had served in the army, was 
Victricius, bishop of Rouen. Paulinus of Nola,^ writing 
to him about 398, congratulates him on having been 
chosen by God to spread the light amongst the forests and 
wild districts of the Morini, which were inhabited by bar- 
barians and brigands. Two letters have been preserved 
that were written by Pope Innocent I^ about 405 
to Victricius and to another bishop, Exuperius of 
Toulouse, giving them advice in regard to work in 
their dioceses. 

In or about 400,* ten years after the death of Martin, Honora- 
a Roman patrician named Honoratus landed on the Lerins. 
island of Lerins, not far from Toulon, and founded a 
monastery which soon became famous as a missionary 
college, a centre of learning, and " a nursery of bishops 
and saints who were destined to spread over the whole 
of Gaul the knowledge of the Gospel and the glory of 

1 The Church of the Fathers, by P. L. Ixi. 

J. H. Newman. ^ Migne, P. L. Iv. 

2 See Epp. xix. and xxxvii. ; Migne, * See above, p. 9. 


Lerins." ^ To those who had gone forth as missionaries 
or as monks his letters, written on parchment or tablets 
which had been smeared with wax,^ brought sweetest 
memories of their great teacher. Amongst those who 
were trained at Lerins may be mentioned Vincent of 
Lerins,^ Salvian, Lupus of Troyes (383-479),^ and 
Caesarius of Aries (470-542). 

St. Ger- Germanus, who became bishop of Auxerre in 418, 
had the honour of consecrating Ireland's great mis- 
sionary bishop who had been ordained priest by his 
predecessor Amator. We have already referred to his 
visit to Britain in 429,^ which was undertaken by him 
and Lupus of Troyes at the request of Pope Celestine 
and apparently at the suggestion of Palladius.*^ He 
died at Ravenna in 449. 

Abbey of Another chief centre of monastic life from which 

St. Victor . . 11 « -. 1 1 

at Mar- many missionary-hearted workers went forth to labour 
in Gaul was the Abbey of St. Victor at Marseilles, 
which was founded by John Cassian (d. 432). Soon 
after its foundation the number of its monks was 
reckoned at five thousand. 
Invasion On the last day of the year 406 an army of Vandals, 
Vandals, Alaus, and Sueves crossed the Rhine and began the 

Alans, and • • j» /^ i rm • i i 

Sueves. luvasiou 01 (jraul. Ihc luvadcrs were pagans, and as 
they advanced westwards they massacred a large part 
of the population and spread ruin and desolation around 

^ Montalembert, Monks of the quod ab omnibus creditum est." 

West, i. 465. * In answer to his demand ad- 

2 "Cera illitis litteris." Vita dressed to Attila at the gates of 

Honorati, by Hilary, c. 22. Troyes, the king of the Huns repHed : 

^ He was the author of Commoni- " I am Attila, the scourge of God." 

torium Peregrini (434 a.d.), in which ^ See above, p. 93. 

first occurs the definition of ortho- ® Prosper, Chronicon, anno 429. 
doxy, " quod ubique, quod semper, 


them. In, or about, 411 Patrick, who had recently 
escaped from his captivity in Ireland, landed, probably at 
the mouth of the River Loire, in order to reach Italy via 
Aquitaine. In his Confessions he speaks of wandering 
across country which had been deprived of all means 
of subsistence, and during a whole month's travel he 
seems only once to have met with any remaining trace 
of civilisation.^ 

Jerome 2 (in 409), referring to Aquitaine, says that, as 
a result of this invasion, in the four provinces of Lyons 
and the two of Narbonne there were but few cities left 
with any inhabitants : as for Toulouse he could not 
mention it without shedding tears. In a poem attri- 
buted to Prosper of Aquitaine the writer declares that 
if the entire ocean had been poured out upon the fields 
of Gaul the destruction would not have been so com- 
plete as was that wrought by these invaders.^ 

Orientius,^ bishop of Auch, says that the whole of 
Gaul smoked Uke one funeral pyre. Salvian,^ writing 
a few years later at Marseilles, uses similar language. 

In 409 the Vandals and their allies passed on into 
Aquitaine and Spain, and the Lyons provinces, which 
had suffered most from their invasion, had a brief 

^ Confessio, c. 3 : " xxviii dies per Oceanus, vastis plus superesset 

desertum iter fecimus et cibus defuit aquis." 

illis et fames invaluit super eos . . . — ^Migne, P.L. li. col. 617. 

difficile est unquam ut aliquem * ' ' Per vicos villas, per rura et com- 

hominem videamus." See also Letter pita et omnes. 

of Jerome to Ageruchia, 123. Per pagos, totis inde vel inde viis, 

« „ , ^ , . ,«„-»,. Mors, dolor, excidium, strages, 

^ Ep. ad Aqeruchiam, 123 ; Migne, • j- i i. 

T, T^ .. , ,^^^^ mcendia, luctus. 

F. L. xxu. col. 1058. tt £ '^ n w j. *. " 

Uno fumavit Gallia tota rogo. 

3 "Tot loca, tot populi, quid meru- — Commonitorium, ii. 181 ; Migne, 

ere mali ? P. L. Ixi. col. 995. 

Si totus Gallos sese effudisset in ^ De guh. Dei., vi. 15; Migne, P. 

Li. liii. col. 125. 


respite. In 412 the Visigoths, who had conquered 
Rome two years before, invaded Southern Gaul. In 
Attiia, 451 Attila and his Huns crossed the Rhine and cap- 
tured Metz, all the inhabitants of which he massacred. 
After he had devastated a huge section of Eastern Gaul, 
his progress was checked near Orleans, and he retired 
again across the Rhine. 
The Bur- Amougst thosc who iuvadcd Gaul from the east in 
gun lans. ^^^ ^^^ ^ scctiou of the Burguudiau people. These 
were the first people of German race to embrace 
Catholic Christianity. When first heard of they were 
settled between the Oder and the Vistula.^ Ammi- 
anus '^ refers to their advance across Upper Germany in 
370. Moving towards the south-west they defeated 
the Alemanni and occupied the left bank of the 
Rhine from Mainz to Worms. Another section of them 
apparently crossed the Rhine in 406 in company with 
the Vandals. In 437, when their leader Gundakar 
was killed, a large part of the Burgundians in Gaul 
were destroyed. In 473 the Burgundian kingdom 
was divided into four, the headquarters of the separate 
divisions being at Geneva, Besangon, Lyons and Vienne, 
but it was again reunited under Gundibald, who died 
in 516. In 534 it was incorporated into the Prankish 

Orosius, writing about 417, soon after the Burgundians 
had occupied the left bank of the Rhine, says, " By 

^ For a description of the social by Jahn ; also Hauck's K. D. i. 97- 

and political characteristics of the 102. The Burgundian kingdom 

Burgundians see Lavisse, Histoire de had extended from Dijon and the 

France, ii. 53, 86 ff. upper waters of the Yonne as far as 

2 Amm. MarcelU xxviii. 5, 9. the Mediterranean ; see Greg. Hist 

^ See Geschichte der Burgundionem, Franc, ii, 32. 


God's providence they all became Christians, holding Conver- 
the catholic faith, and dealt kindly with our clergy, western ^ 
to whom they rendered obedience, and they lead ^^^j^ns 
gentle, kind and innocent lives and do not treat the 
Gauls as subjects but in truth as Christian brothers." ^ 

The Eastern Burgundians decided in 430 to follow and of the 
their example, and, having sent for a bishop (probably g^^*^^^ 
Crotowald of Worms) to instruct them in the Christian g^^^i^^^^- 
faith, they were baptized in a body after a week's in- 
struction. According to Socrates the motive which 
prompted the Eastern Burgundians to seek for baptism 
was political rather than religious. 

The following is his account of their conversion, 
which is, however, of doubtful historical value. He 
writes : — 

" I will now relate a thing worthy to be recorded 
which happened about this time. There is a barbarous 
nation which has its abode beyond the river Rhine, 
called the Burgundians. These people lead a quiet 
life ; for they are, for the most part, wood-cutters, 
by which they earn wages and get a livelihood. The 
nation of the Huns, by making continual inroads upon 
this people, depopulated their district. The Biu*- 
gimdians, therefore, reduced to great straits, sought 
not the help of any man, but resolved to entrust them- 
selves for protection to some god, and having taken 
note of the fact that the God of the Romans afforded 
strong assistance to those that feared Him, they all, 

^ Orosius, vii. 32, 12. " Eorum fide nostrisque clericis quibus obe- 

esse praevalidam et perniciosam dirent, receptis blande mansuete in- 

manum, Galliae hodieque testes sunt noeenterque vivant non quasi cum 

in quibus praesumpta possessione subjectis Gallis sed vere cum fratri- 

consistunt ; quamvis providentia Dei bus Christianis. " 
Christian! omnes modo f acti catholica 


by a general consent, came over to the faith of Christ. 
Repairing accordingly to one of the cities of Gaul, 
they requested the bishop that they might receive 
Christian baptism. The bishop ordered them to fast 
for seven days, and having instructed them in the 
grounds of the faith, on the eighth day baptized and 
dismissed them. Being encouraged thereby, they 
marched out against the Huns, and were not deceived 
in their expectation ; for the king of the Huns, whose 
name was Optar, having burst himself in the night 
by over- eating, the Burgundians suddenly fell upon the 
Huns, who were destitute of a commander, and, few 
though they were, engaged and conquered very many. 
For the Burgundians being in number only three 
thousand, destroyed about ten thousand of the Huns. 
And from that time the nation of the Burgundians 
became zealous professors of Christianity." ^ 
Burgun- A fcw ycars later the main body of the Burgundians 
Arians!^ movcd away from the Rhine in the direction of the 
Rhone. When they first settled in the neighbourhood 
of the Rhine they became catholic Christians, but later, 
influenced probably by the Visigoths, who were Arians, 
the whole tribe, or at least that portion of it over which 
Gundibald ruled, became Arians. 
Conver- In 493 Chlodovcch, or Clovis, as he is more 
ciovis, generally called, who had by a series of campaigns 
'^^^' made himself king of the Franks, married the Christian 
princess Hrothilde, who was a daughter of the Bur- 
gundian king Hilperik. Three years later, when in 
great danger in the course of a campaign against the 

^ Socrates Scholast. vii. 30. For a reference to the Burgundians 
Migne, P. Gr. Ixvii. col. 805. in Switzerland see p. 313. 


Alemanni, he invoked the aid of Hrothilde's God, and, 
the campaign having proved a success, he became 
ready to listen to his wife's entreaties that he should 
become a Christian. His baptism, the date of which 
forms a landmark in the spread of Christianity in 
Northern Europe, took place at Rheims on Christmas 
Day 496.^ When Bishop Remigius was about to 
administer the sacrament of baptism he said to the 
king : " Bow thy neck in humility, Sicambrian ; 
accept as an object of worship that which thou wast 
wont to destroy, and burn that which once thou didst 
worship." The Christians throughout Gaul at this 
time were sharply divided into catholics and Arians, 
and the subsequent victories which Clovis gained were 
largely due to the assistance rendered to him by the 
catholic Christians who had suffered much at the hands 
of their Arian persecutors. 

By the end of the sixth century the Church through- Organiza- 
out Gaul was organized on a territorial basis, and the GaUican ^ 
work of the pioneer missionaries was practically com- ^^^^^^• 
pleted. There were, however, some considerable 
areas in which heathenism still flourished,^ and in 
one of these the Irish saint Columbanus,^ estab- Coium- 


^ This is the generally accepted but recently been converted to 

date. Prof. Bury, Dr A. Hauck and Christianity. 

Dr B. Krusch maintain that the ® The earliest Life of Columbanus 

baptism took place at Tours in 507. is that written by Jonas, a native of 

For arguments for and against this Northern Italy, and a monk of Bobbio, 

suggestion see Scott Holmes, The circ. 642 a.d. He had not himself 

Christian Church in Gaul, pp. 330 f. seen Columbanus, who died in 615, 

2 The bishops who welcomed but he claims to have obtained the 

Rhadegund to the monastery which information which he records from 

she founded at Poitiers in the second those who had known Columbanus 

half of the sixth century refer to well. His Life includes a number 

Aquitaine as a district which had of miracles. The best critical in- 


lished a monastery and carried on his missionary 

Columbanus, who was of noble, if not of royal, parent- 
age, was born in West Leinster in 543, and received a 
Hberal education in grammar, rhetoric, geometry, and 
the study of Holy Scripture.^ The stern ascetic spirit in 
which his lifework was accomplished may be illustrated 
by the farewell scene between him and his mother. 
When as a very young man he asked her permission 
to become a monk, she was overcome with grief and 
threw herself to the ground on the threshold of the 
door, and it was across her prostrate form that he set 
forth to seek a monastery in which he might obtain 
the training for his future work. 
Hisarrival After Spending some years in the monastery of 
573^^''^' Bangor (near Belfast) he crossed to Brittany,^ about 
573, with twelve companions, and after labouring 
there for some time as a missionary, he eventually 
presented himself before Sigibert of Austrasia and 
asked his permission to settle in some barren and un- 
cared-for district in Gaul, the north-eastern portion 
of which had suffered terribly from the irruption of 

troduction to the Life of Columbanus the monastic Rule has been chal- 

is that by Bruno Krusch in the lenged. 

Monumenta Germaniae Historica, vol. ^ The acts of healing which Jonas 

iv. Krusch speaks of him as hold- regarded as miraculous (cf. Fito, i. 

ing "locum primarium inter prse- 15) suggest that he had also studied 

dicatores gentium." The writings medicine. 

of Columbanus that have been pre- ^ xhat Columbanus went direct 

served consist of a Monastic Rule in to Brittany and did not pass through 

ten chapters, a book on the measure of Britain appears to have been estab- 

penances, seventeen short sermons and lished by Zimmer; see Hodgkin, 

five letters, and a commentary on the Italy and her Invaders, vi. 112 n. For 

Psalms. These, with the exception arguments in favour of a contrary 

of the last, are printed in Migne's view see art. by L. Gougaud, in 

Fatrologia Latina, Ixxx. pp. 201 ff. Annates de Bretagne, T. xxxi., Jan. 

The authorship of the sermons and 1907. 

f late 2. 


at the end of 

The 7*h Century 

Statute Miles 

Lonemans, Green & Co.. London. New York. Bombay. Calcutta & Ma.draff"''^''^^^^'^^^''"' ^''^• 

To face page 190 


barbarian invaders.^ The spot in which Columbanus 
and his companions settled Ues on the western side of 
the Vosges mountains, in what was then called the Jura 
district, and near the old Roman camp of Anagrates.^ 
They could have found no wilder or less inviting 
district, and for a considerable time they suffered pangs Difficui- 
of hunger and were in danger of starvation.^ The name hardships. 
of one of those who helped them in a time of distress, 
Carantoc, suggests that Columbanus was not the first 
monk of Celtic origin * to settle in this district. Jonas 
records many miracles that were said to have been 
wrought in order to supply the wants of the monks, 
and he describes the miraculous control that Columbanus 
exerted upon the wild beasts whose lairs he invaded 
in order to find seclusion in which to pray. Despite 
the hardships which the monks had to endure, their 
number continued to increase, and after a few years 
they began to build on a larger scale at Luxeuil (Luxo- Monas- 
vium), about eight miles to the south. The site was LuLuii. 
granted by the king, Childebert II., but no permission 
was obtained or asked from the bishop of Besan§on, 
in whose diocese the new building was erected. 

The establishment of this monastery involved the 
breach of a rule the observance of which, as subsequent 
history was destined to show, was of vital importance 

^ Cf. Jonas' Life of Columbanus, a wallet, a leathern case for service 

c. 5, p. 71 : " Ob f requentiam hostium books, and a case containing relics, 

externorum vel neglegentiam prae- See History of Christian Missions in 

sulum religionis virtus pene abolita the Middle Ages, by Maclear, p. 134 n. 
habebatur." * According to a Welsh legend, 

2 Now Faucogney in Haute- Sadne. one of the companions of Patrick 

' The outfit of the Irish monks was named Carantoc or Carranog — 

at this time consisted of a short staff see Monks of the West, iii. 80. 
{camhorta), a leathern water-bottle. 


to the well-being of the Christian Church alike in Gaul 
and in other countries. It does not come within the 
scope of this book to discuss the influence exerted by 
the monastic system upon the organization and de- 
velopment of the Christian Church in the Middle Ages, 
but few would dispute the statement that the failure of 
the monks to live up to the high ideals of their founders 
was largely due to the fact that their abbots, having 
itsinde- repudiated the authority and control of the diocesan 
oHpis^-^^ bishops/ became a law unto themselves and tended 
copal more and mor^ towards the adoption of lower ideals 

control. 7 . . 

and towards a life which was isolated from the activities 

and spiritual influences of the Church as a whole. The 

refusal of Columbanus to accept any kind of control 

on the part of the Gallic bishops was with him a matter 

of vital principle. His aim and that of his fellow-monks 

was not merely to live in the midst of Gallic Christianity 

and to exert a local missionary influence, but to wage 

war on the kind of Christianity which he found existing 

in Gaul. 

Founda- Vicwcd from the missionary standpoint, the most 

othl^ permanent result of the work which he accomplished 

monas- ^^^ ^y^ . j^^ initiated in North-East Gaul the monastic 


movement, and from the monasteries founded and 
controlled by himself and his disciples went forth the 
missionaries who completed the nominal conversion of 
the country which lay to the north of 50^ lat. and to 
the east of 2"^ E. long. He himself only founded three 
monasteries in Gaul, viz., Annegray, Luxeuil, and 

1 At the fifth Council of Aries held their monasteries were situated, and 

in 463, it had been decreed (canons that they were not to absent them- 

2 and 3) that abbots were subject selves from their monasteries with- 

to the bishop of the diocese in which out the consent of the bishop. 


Fontaine, but more than fifty were founded by his 
followers, in which his Rule was observed. This Rule 
was chiefly remarkable for its severity, and was a 
sharp contrast to that of St. Benedict, with which it 
was afterwards frequently conjoined.^ 

In the light of subsequent history it is easy to decide 
that Columbanus committed an error of far-reaching 
importance in ignoring the authority of the Gallic bishops 
and in seeking to secm^e for his monasteries the indepen- 
dent position which they possessed in his native land. 
Before, however, we condemn his action, we need to 
remember the deplorable condition of Gallic episcopacy Depior- 
in his time and in the century which immediately ditionTf 
followed. Bishops, who were in some cases laymen ^^g^Q. 
and had never been consecrated, regarded their P^^y. 
dioceses as private estates, and bequeathed them to 
their friends or relations. Many of them lived as lay- 
men and spent their lives in fighting, hunting and 
revelry. The result was the total demoralization of 
the Prankish Church in Northern Gaul, a demoraliza- 
tion which was accentuated by the evil lives of the 
Frankish kings, who were nominally Christians. Thus 
Montalembert, in The Monks of the West, writes of 
Clovis and the Frankish kings who succeeded him : 
'' They were sad Christians. While they respected Witness 
the freedom of the catholic faith, and made external aiembert. 
profession of it, they violated without scruple all its 
precepts, and at the same time the simplest laws of 
humanity. After having prostrated themselves before 
the tomb of some holy martyr or confessor, after having 

^ The monastery founded at dicti et Columbani." It was the first 
Solignac in 632 a. d. had as its rule, of many similar foundations. 
" Regula beatissimorum patrum Bene- 



distinguished themselves by the choice of an irre- 
proachable bishop, after having listened respectfully 
to the voice of a pontiff or monk, we see them, some- 
times in outbreaks of fury, sometimes by cold-blooded 
cruelties, give full course to the instincts of their savage 
nature. ... In reading these bloody biographies, 
scarcely lightened by some transient gleams of faith 
or humility, it is difficult to beheve that in embrac- 
ing Christianity they gave up a single pagan vice or 
adopted a single Christian virtue." ^ 
Witness of A ccutury and a half later, in 742, in the course of a 
Boniface. |^^|.^j. ^^ p^p^ Zacharias, Boniface refers to the con- 
dition of the Prankish Church. He writes, " Eccle- 
siastical discipline for not less than sixty or seventy 
years has been trampled on and dissipated. , . . 
At the present time the episcopal sees in the several 
cities are for the most part handed over to greedy 
laics or adulterous clerics, to whoremongers and pubU- 
cans, to enjoy as secular property." ^ 

An extensive reformation of the Prankish Church 
dates from the joint-council held by Pepin and Carlo- 
man under the presidency of Boniface in 745. 
Causes of M. Lavissc, commenting on the low moral condition 
geneLty. of the Prauks at this era, ascribes it to the fact that 
a time of exceptional material prosperity coincided 
with a period in which all the restraints upon conduct 
that had been imposed by their old laws and religious 
beliefs had lost their former sanctions. At the same 
time their bishops and other Christian leaders were 
for the most part men of small education and weak 
character, and were wholly incapable of illustrating by 

^ Vol. ii. p. 235. 2 Ep. 50 ; Migne, P. L. Ixxxix. 


their conduct, or commending by their teaching, the 
Christian virtues.^ 

The much-needed reform of the Church was to come 
from men of another race, but it was not to come from 
the saintly Irish monks, who kept themselves untainted 
from the prevailing corruption by confining themselves 
for the most part to their monastic circles. 

The attitude of Columbanus towards the Frankish Letter of 



bishops and the loving spirit in which his work was banuT 
carried on may be gathered from a letter addressed ^^o^g^ 
by him to a Frankish synod (in 602) which had 
remonstrated with him for not conforming to Gallic 
Church customs. In the course of the letter he 
wrote : — 

'' I came as a stranger amongst you in behalf of our 
common Lord and Master Jesus Christ. In His name 
I beseech you let me live in peace and quiet, as I have 
lived for twelve years in these woods beside the bones 
of my seventeen departed brethren. Let Gaul receive 
into her bosom all who, if they deserve it, will meet 
in one heaven. . . . Choose ye which rule respecting 
Easter ye prefer to follow, remembering the words 
of the Apostle, ' Prove all things, hold fast that which 
is good.' But let us not quarrel one with another, lest 
our enemies, the Jews, the heretics and pagan Gentiles 
rejoice in our contention. . . . Pray for us, my fathers, 
even as we, humble as we are, pray for you. Regard 
us not as strangers, for we are members together of 
one body, whether we be Gauls or Britons or Iberians, 
or to whatever nation we belong. Therefore, let us 
all rejoice in the knowledge of the faith and the re- 

^ Histoire genirale, i. 157. 


velation of the Son of God ... in communion with 
whom let us learn to love one another and pray for one 
another." ^ 
Coium- The work of Columbanus at Luxeuil was eventually 
expelled cut short (iu 610) by Theodoric, the young king of the 
Lu^uii. Burgundians, who was himself instigated by his grand- 
mother, Brunichildis. Columbanus had again and 
again rebuked the gross immoralities of the king, who 
at length expelled him from his dominions and caused 
him to be placed on board a ship at Nantes which was 
bound for Ireland. The boat in which he descended 
the river Loire stopped at Tours and Columbanus spent 
the night praying at the tomb of St. Martin. The ship 
in which he eventually sailed met with a violent storm, 
whereupon the captain put the missionary and his 
four companions ashore and proceeded on his voyage 
without further difficulty. Columbanus then visited 
the king Chlothachar (Clothaire II.), in Neustria, who 
besought him to remain there. Leaving him, how- 
ever, he passed on to King Theudebert of Austrasia, 
and thence made his way to Italy. The time spent by 
him in Gaul was twenty years. We refer later on to 
his work in Switzerland and in Italy. 
Hisinde- Columbauus started his missionary work entirely 
of Roman on his owu initiative, and did not visit Rome until 
authority. gjQ^ ^j^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^eii Gaul. In one of his letters 

to Pope Gregory relating to the time of the observance 
of Easter, he displays his complete independence of 
ecclesiastical tradition when he urges the Pope not to 
feel bound by the decrees of his predecessor St. Leo on 
the ground that a hving dog is better than a dead lion 

1 See Epist. ii. ; Migne, vol. Ixxx. col. 264 ff. 


(leo), and suggests that a living saint may correct the 
omissions of one who went before him.^ 

A letter addressed to Boniface IV. shortly before 
his own death illustrates the attitude which the Celtic 
missionaries of his time adopted towards the bishops 
of Rome. He writes : " We Irish who inhabit the 
extremities of the world are the disciples of St. Peter 
and St. Paul and of the other apostles who have written 
under dictation of the Holy Spirit. We receive nothing 
more than the apostohc and evangelical doctrine. . . . 
Pardon me if ... I have said some words offensive 
to pious ears. The native liberty of my race has given 
me that boldness. With us it is not the person, it is 
the right which prevails." ^ 

His character was a strange combination of ardent Character 
faith and angry impatience. Where in the bio- banus!^"^ 
graphics of missionaries could we find a nobler ideal 
than that expressed in these words which he is said 
to have used, " Whosoever overcomes himself treads 
the world underfoot : no one who spares himself can 
truly hate the world. If Christ be in us we cannot live 
to ourselves ; if we have conquered ourselves we have 
conquered all things. . . . Let us die unto ourselves. 
Let us live in Christ that Christ may live in us." ^ 
It is hard for us to realize that the author of these words 
could have invoked curses and maledictions upon those 
who rejected his preaching in the following words : 
" Make this generation to be a reproach, that the evils His de- 
which they have wickedly devised for thy servants Son^of his 
they may feel on their own heads. Let their children ®^®"^ies. 

1 Of. Migne, vol. Ixxx. col. 261, 2 ^p. v. ; Migne, id. col. 275. 

" melior forte est canis vivus in pro- ^ Gallandus, Bihl. Vet. Pair. xii. ; 

blemate leone mortuo." E'p. iii. 

on the 


perish, and when they come to middle age let stupe- 
faction and madness seize upon them." ^ 

On another occasion, after he had been expelled by 
Theodoric from his dominions, he was heard to remark, 
" This dog, Theodoric, has hunted me from the home 
of my brethren " ; and when one said to him " in a 
low voice," " Methinks it is better to drink milk rather 
than wormwood," he replied, " Say to thy friend 
and thy lord that three years from this time he and his 
children will be destroyed, and that God will utterly 
root out his whole race." ^ 
Celtic mis- Apart from the success which they attained as mis- 
on^he^^ sionaries to the heathen, the results of the work accom- 
plished by Columbanus and the other Irish missionaries 
who followed him were mainly three — 

(1) They raised the standards and ideals of learning 
in Gaul, and especially in Northern Gaul, and inspired 
monks and clergy alike with the desire to study the Scrip- 
tures and in addition the Greek and Latin classics. It 
was a common saying in the days of Charles the Bald 
(823-77), that anyone on the Continent who knew Greek 
was an Irishman or had obtained his knowledge from 
an Irishman.^ It frequently happened that those who 
came in contact with the Irish in other countries were 
induced to visit Ireland in order to study in its monas- 
teries. Thus Aldhelm, who was bishop of Sherborne 
at the end of the seventh century, describes the EngKsh 
students as going over in crowds to obtain instruction 

1 The words were uttered on the ^ See " Die Iren und die Frank- 
occasion of his rejection by the ische Kirche," by W. Levison. 
Suevi on the lake of Zurich. Of. Historische Zeitschrift, Band 109, 
Vita Gain, ii. 7. p. 21. 

2 Vita, c. 22. 


in Ireland.^ In the middle of the seventh century 
Bishop Agilbert, of Paris, is reported to have spent a 
long time in an Irish monastery engaged in studjdng 
the Holy Scriptures.^ It would appear that the Celtic 
missionaries were as a rule men of good education, and 
that their training included not only the Scriptures and 
early Christian writers, but the ancient classics. Patrick Their 
speaks of himself as " rusticissimus," but his know- learning. 
ledge of Latin was considerable and was not less than 
that of Martin of Tours. The writings of Columbanus 
show that he was acquainted with Virgil, Ovid, Horace 
and Sallust. Adamnan, the biographer of Columba, 
was familiar with Virgil. Several of the Irish who 
devoted themselves to missionary work were the 
authors of treatises on grammar and rhetoric. Dicuil 
wrote in 825 a treatise entitled " De mensura orbis 
terrae," also a treatise on astronomy. 

The study, however, of ancient languages and of Their 
profane hterature was ever regarded as subsidiary and^^e^^oiy 
as a means whereby to obtain a more perfect under- p^"P" 

•^ ^ ^ tures. 

standing of the Holy Scriptures. It is doubtful 
whether any missionaries of modern times have 
regarded an intimate acquaintance with the Scrip- 
tures as of more vital consequence for the prosecu- 
tion of their work than did these early monkish 

(2) We may claim as a second result of the work Their 
of the Irish missionaries the popularizing of the peni- t^T*^^ 
tential system which Columbanus had elaborated, ^y^*®"^- 
and the application of its principles to the Uves 

^ " Catervatim . . . classibus ^ Id. p. 5. 

advecti." Aldhelm, Ef, ad Eah- ^ See Bede, H. E. iii. 3, 7 ; v. 9, 

fridum, col. 94. 10, etc. 


of many of the laity as well as to those of the 

(3) A third result which must be attributed to 

the work of the Irish missionaries, and to which 

we have already referred, was the introduction 

of the monastic system into Northern Gaul, and 

Monas- the estabHshmeut of the principle that monasteries 

Northern might bccomc independent of the control of the dio- 

^^"^* cesan bishops. An indirect result which continued for 

a century or more was the consecration of an immense 

number of bishops who had no definite duties, some of 

whom wandered from monastery to monastery, and 

whose existence did much to render ineffective the 

episcopal organization of the Church. The French 

monasteries continued to receive recruits from Ireland 

as late as the thirteenth century, but long before this 

time their influence upon the hf e of the French Chiu*ch 

had ceased to be felt. 

Remains Although paganism was aboKshed throughout Gaul 

piganism. at an earUer period than in most of the other countries 

of Europe, several centuries elapsed before even the 

pubUc observance of pagan rites was entirely eradicated. 

Gregory of Tours, in his life of SimpUcius bishop of 

Autun, speaks of the worship of Cybele in that diocese 

and says that it was customary to carry her statue 

round the fields and vineyards in order to render them 

productive. In 689 St. Kilian found at the court of 

Dagobert II., king of East Francia, a golden image of 

Diana which was greatly venerated.^ Temples to 

Jupiter, Mercury and Apollo at Rouen were still visited 

by worshippers in the seventh century. 

1 Ada SS., July, p. 616. 


Hincmar archbishop of Rheims states that in the 
time of Charles Martel the Christian faith had almost 
died out in Austrasia and Neustria, many of the Eastern 
Franks never having received baptism.^ 

In 743 the Council of Lestines referred to and de- 
nounced many still existing pagan superstitions.^ 

Amongst other missionaries who laboured to convei t St. Vaiery 
pagans in France, mention should be made of Vaiery vergne. 
(Walaricus), a shepherd of Au vergne, who became the 
gardener at Luxeuil under Columbanus. The scene 
of his missionary labours was the neighbourhood of 
Amiens and in that part of Neustria in which the Salian 
Franks were established. Another who preached at 
Ponthieu and in the country bordering on the Somme 
was Riquier, who had been converted to the Chris- st. 
tian faith by two Irish companions of Columbanus *^"^®^' 
whom he had received into his house. He gained great 
influence alike amongst the poor and the rich, and was 
for a time one of the " companions of the king " at the 
court of Clothaire II. 

Eustace, the successor of Columbanus as abbot of st. 
Luxeail (610-625), was an ardent missionary, and in ac- 
cordance with his own desire was deputed by the bishops 
who assembled at the Council of Bonneuil-sur-Marne 
in 616 to preach to pagans. He began by preaching 
to the heathen amongst the Varasques, not far from 
Luxeuil, who worshipped the fauns and dryads and 
genii of the woods. Later on he preached among the 
Boii in eastern Gaul.^ 

1 Migne, P. L. cxxvi., col. 200, Ep. Christianitatis pene fuit abolita." 
Ad episcopos de Jure Metropolitan- ^ Mans. Gone. xii. 385. 

orum. "In Germanicis et Belgicis ^ See Vita Eusta8ii,hy JoiiQt>B, 

ac Gallicanis provinciis omnis religio 


The Wulflaich, a native of Lombardy, built himself a 

Wuiflaich. pillar in imitation of Simeon Stylites in the valley of 

the Moselle {circ. 560), and by the austerities which 

he practised converted some of the heathen around. 

He was eventually induced to descend from his pillar 

and share the labours of other missionaries who were 

working in the same district.^ 

St. Omer. The modcm town of St. Omer takes its name from 

Audomar, who was apparently converted by Columbanus 

near Lake Constance, and after being a monk at Luxeuil 

for twenty years became bishop of Therouanne. To 

St. Bertin. him and to his relative Bertin the conversion of the 

neighbouring district is said to have been due. So 

Irish mis- large was the number of Irish missionaries who landed 

swnaries -^ Brittany 5^ coming in some cases direct from Ireland 

Brittany, ^j^^ '^^ other s from Cornwall, that a French writer (M. 

Berger) has referred to the Brittany of this period as 

" une colonic spirituelle d'Irlande." 

Though the permanent results achieved by Colum- 
banus and the other Irish missionaries in France and 
elsewhere are disappointing, and cannot be compared 
with those of the English Boniface and his successors, 
their labours nevertheless formed a brilliant episode 
in the development of the Christian Church in France. 
We must regret that so few records have survived of 
their labours and of those of the other missionaries to 
whom the conversion of France was due. But, though 
we cannot know as much as we desire of their lives and 

1 See Acta 8S., July 7. Greg. Labb. iv. 1053, also Haddan and 

Tur. vii. 15. Stubbs, vol. ii. pt. i. p. 72 f. This 

^ One of those who was present Mansuetus was probably a bishop in 

at the Council of Tours in 461 signed Brittany. For a tradition relating to a 

thus, "Mansuetus episcopus Britan- Bishop Mansuetus of Toul see above, 

norum interfui et subscripsi." See p. 175. 


methods of work, we can at least form some conception Difficui- 
of the difficulties which they had to encounter. whlchmis- 

At the period when their missionary labours were^o^Q^^j^ 
accomphshed the greater part of France, and indeed laboured. 
the greater part of Europe, consisted of forests inhabited 
by numerous wild beasts, infested, in many districts, 
by still fiercer brigands, and as difficult to traverse as 
is any Central African forest to-day. " To plunge 
into these terrible forests, to encounter these monstrous 
animals . . . required a courage of which nothing in 
the existing world can give us an idea. . . . The monk 
attacked these gloomy woods without arms, without 
sufficient implements, and often without a single com- 
panion. . . . He bore with him a strength which 
nothing has ever surpassed or equalled, the strength 
conferred by faith in a living God. . . . See, then, 
these men of prayer and penitence who were at the 
same time the bold pioneers of Christian civilisation 
and the modern world. . . . They plunged into the 
darkness carrying light with them, a light which was 
nevermore to be extinguished." ^ 

1 The Monks of the West, ii. pp. 320 f. 



introduc- Of the first preaching of Christianity in Italy we 

Christi- know nothing. It is probable that it was introduced 

anity. -^^^^ Rome by Christians whose names have not been 

preserved and who formed part of the countless 

stream of visitors that flocked year by year to the 

metropolis of the world. The " sojourners of Rome " 

who hstened to the preaching of St. Peter on the Day 

of Pentecost would probably have carried back to 

Rome some report of what they had heard. The 

list of Christians in Rome to whom St. Paul sends 

greeting at the close of his Epistle to the Romans 

suggests that by about the year 57 there was a well- 

Prisca and established Christian community, Prisca and Aquila, 

Aqmia. .^ whosc housc it may have met, being perhaps its 

leaders. That the Church was filled with missionary 

zeal may be inferred from St. Paul's statement that its 

faith was " proclaimed throughout the whole world." ^ 

Aristo- There were Christians in the houses of Aristobulus 

m^cistus. and Narcissus who were apparently Roman nobles ^ ; 

and, later on, when St. Paul himself was in Rome, there 

were Christians " in Caesar's household." ^ Tacitus, 

referring to Nero's persecution of the Christians in 

1 Rom. i. 8, 7) iri(TTL% vfx(av KarayyeX ^ See Harnack's Exp. of C. p. 45. 
Xerat iv 6Xtfj rep Koaixij). ^ Phil. iv. 22. 


ITALY 205 

64, speaks of " a great multitude " ^ of Christians, an 
expression which cannot have denoted less than several 
hundreds. That Peter visited and taught in Rome st.^^e^er 
cannot reasonably be doubted. He may have be-"" 
come interested in the great city as the result of con- 
verse with those to whom he preached on the Day of 
Pentecost, or he may have obtained introductions to 
dwellers in Rome from CorneUus the captain of the 
Italian Band (cohors Italica), which consisted of 
volunteers from Italy. He may also have heard that 
Simon Magus, whom he had silenced in Samaria, was 
teaching and influencing many in Rome.^ 

Clement of Rome, writing to the Christians at Corinth 
A.D. 95, after referring to the deaths of St. Peter and 
St. Paul, wrote, "Unto these men of holy lives was 
gathered a vast multitude of the elect, who through 
many indignities and tortures ... set a brave ex- 
ample among ourselves."^ By the time that he 
wrote a " rule of tradition " had already been estab- 
lished. A Roman consul Titus Flavins Clemens and Clemens 
his wife Domitilla, who were closely related to the Domitiiia. 
Emperor Domitian, were Christians and were punished 
as such (95-96).^ 

From the Shepherd of Hermas, which was probably 
written about the middle of the second century, we 
gather that the Christians in Rome included a number 
of wealthy persons.^ In 166 the Roman bishop Soter, Bishop 
the author of the so-called second Epistle of Clement,^ 

1 "ingens multitudo," ^nw. XV. 44. mundson's The Church in Borne in 

2 See statements by Justin Martyr, the First Century, pp. 180-205. 
Apol. 56, a,nd Dial c. Tryphonem, 126. * Ens. H. E. iii. 17 ; Dion Cassius, 

3 Ep. ad Cor. vi. For arguments Ixvii. 14 ; Suet. Domit 15. 
in favour of assigning a.d. 70 as the ^ Mandates, x. 

date of Clement's Epistle see Ed- ^ So Harnack, Exp. of C. p. 245. 


referring to the Christians in Rome, or in Italy, claims 
that they were already more numerous than the Jews.^ 
Statement Referring to a period about twenty years later, 
Eusebius. Eusebius writes, " About the time of the reign of 
Commodus (180-192) our affairs changed for the better 
and by God's grace the churches all over the world 
enjoyed peace. Meanwhile the word of salvation 
was conducting every soul from every race of men to 
the devout worship of the God of all things, so that a 
large number of people at Rome eminent for great 
wealth and high birth, turned to their salvation along 
with all their households and families." ^ During 
the reign of Commodus a Christian named Carpophorus 
belonged to the Emperor's household, one of whose 
Bishop slaves, Callistus, afterwards became bishop of Rome. 
a istus. There are many references, alike in Christian and 
non -Christian writings, which prove that in the second, 
and still more in the third century, the number of 
Christians belonging to the richer and more cultured 
classes was considerable. The second rescript issued 
by the Emperor Valerian in 258 suggests that there 
Christians wcrc many Christians belonging to the highest classes 
rank^ ^f Romau socicty. It reads : " Senators and pro- 
minent men and Roman knights are to lose their 
position and moreover be deprived of their property, 
and if they persist in being Christians after their goods 
have been taken from them, they are to be beheaded. 
Matrons are to be deprived of their goods and sent 
into exile : but members of Caesar's household are 
to have their goods confiscated and be sent in chains 
by appointment to the estates of Csesar." ^ 

1 Ep, ad Cor. chap. ii. ^ H. E.y.2\,1. » Cypr. Ep. Ixxx. 1. 

ITALY 207 

Eusebius, referring to the reign of Diocletian (prior 
to 303), says, " The Emperors even trusted our members 
with provinces to govern (rag rcov idvcov r)y€fjiovLa<;) 
and exempted them from the duty of offering sacrifice." ^ 

Harnack writes, '' We know a whole series of names christian 
of orators and grammarians who came over to ^nd^ g^ram- 
Christianity." ^ He goes on to suggest that, whereas i^anans. 
in the East " the decisive factor " in the conversion 
of the more cultured classes was the development 
of Christian learning at Alexandria and Caesarea, in 
the West '' the upper classes were brought over to the 
faith by the authority and stability of the church." ^ 

TertuUian writes, " Even Severus * himself, the state- 
father of Antoninus, was mindful of the Christians xer^ ^ ^ 
. . . and both men and women of the highest rank*^^^*^* 
whom Severus knew to be members of this sect he not 
merely refrained from injuring, but he bore honour- 
able testimony to them and he restored them to us 
out of the hands of a raging mob." ^ 

Dionysius bishop of Alexandria, speaking of the and 
attitude of the Emperor Valerian (253-260) towards Sx^' 
the Christians, says that he treated them with quite ^"^^^* 
undisguised friendliness and goodmll at the commence- 
ment of his reign : " his whole court was full of pious 
people ; it was a church of God." ^ 

The wife and daughter of Diocletian, who became 
one of the chief persecutors, were Christians. 

Some of the most effective missionary work was christian 
done by soldiers who, from very early times, were to-n^f^e"^^ 

.. Roman 

^ H. Jij. vui. 1. 5 ^p Q^^ Scaptdam, iv. Migne, army. 

2 Exp. of Christianity, ii. 41. P. L, i. col. 703. 

3 Id. ii. 42. « Euseb. H. E. vii, 10. 
* S. reigned from 193 to 211. 


be found in the Roman army, nor is there any evidence 
to show that the early Church regarded the profes- 
sion of a soldier as inconsistent with the practice of 
Christianity .1 In the prayers of the Church the army 
was regularly mentioned.^ As the number of Christian 
officers and soldiers increased, especially after the 
time of Gallienus, the authorities frequently connived 
at their non-attendance at the sacrifices, or other 
rites, in which they could not conscientiously take 
part. Galerius endeavoured to stamp out Christianity 
from the army, and the first persecution of Dio- 
cletian, which occurred at his instigation, was directed 
primarily against Cliristian soldiers and was followed 
by an edict against them issued by licinius. This 
persecution came to an abrupt end when Constantine 
in his expedition against Maxentius affixed the cross 
Pach- to the standards of his regiments. Pachomius, who 
afterwards became a monk and the founder of the 
monastic settlement at Tabennisi, was a soldier in 
Constantine's army, and was converted to Christianity 
by the brotherly love displayed by the Christian 
soldiers in the army. One of the canons passed at the 
Council of Aries in Gaul (314) pronounced sentence 
of excommunication upon any Christian soldier who 
should decline to perform his military duties. 

1 TertuUian and Origen were number of Christian soldiers in the 

amongst the few early writers who Roman army. Thus he writes 

regarded service in the army as circ. 200 : "We are of yesterday 

inconsistent with the profession of and we have filled your camps. . . . 

the Christian faith. TertuUian de- Along with you we fight," Ayol. 37, 

votes a treatise to the discussion of 42. Origen held that all war was 

the case of a soldier who was put to opposed to the teachings of Christi- 

death because he refused a military anity {contra Celsum, viii. 73). 

crown. Incidentally he bears wit- ^ cf. Tert. Apol xxx. Migne, P. L. 

ness to the existence of a very large i. col. 441 ; Arnob. iv. 36. 


ITALY 209 

The only places in Italy in which we know that 
Christians existed before the end of the first centxiiy 
are Rome and Puteoli. To these we may perhaps 
add Pompeii, where a terra-cotta lamp has been dug christians 
up bearing the Christ monogram.^ By 180 there werepompeU? 
Christians at Naples,^ at one or more of the Greek- 
speaking towns in southern Italy,^ and probably at 
Syracuse in Sicily.^ 

The number of Jews in Rome about the time of the 
Christian era has been estimated at 10,000.^ At the 
time when St. Paul preached in Rome the character 
of the inhabitants was as cosmopolitan as that of any 
city has ever been. The upper classes were accus- use of the 
tomed to speak Greek in preference to Latin andJ^^Tuage. 
amongst the lowest classes a debased form of Greek 
was generally used for trade purposes. Thus Juvenal 
taunts his fellow-countrymen with Uving in a Greek 

The first missionaries to visit Italy probably spoke 
Greek and for more than a century after the foundation 
of a Christian Church the majority of its members 
apparently used the Greek language and were not 
natives of Italy .^ The first bishop of Rome who wrote 

^ Harnack regards this discovery ^ It has been estimated that at 

as affording evidence that the mono- this time there were 1,000,000 in 

gram itself is of pagan origin. Exp. Egypt, 700,000 in Palestine, and 

of C. ii. 93 n. The words " Sodoma in the whole Roman Empire 4,000,000 

Gomora " were found scratched on to 4,500,000 out of a total population 

a wall at Pompeii, but this might of about 55,000,000. 

have been done by a Jew. * Gf. Juvenal, Sat. iii. 60, " Non 

2 See evidence provided by cata- possum ferre, Quirites, Grsecam 
combs of St. Genaro. urbem," and, again, i. 62, " Jam 

3 Clement of Alexandria, Strom, i. pridem Syrus in Tiber im defluxit 
1, 11. Orontes." 

* According to evidence supplied "^ Seneca writes with regard to 

by catacombs. the inhabitants of Rome, " They 



in Latin was Victor (189-199) and of the bishops who 
preceded him only two bear Latin names. When 
Poly carp bishop of Smyrna reached Rome in 154 he 
conducted service there in Greek ; and the Apostles' 
Creed was apparently composed in Greek about the 
middle of the second century .^ The majority of the 
Roman clergy appear to have used Greek as their 
official language till the middle of the third century. 
A Latin How soou the Bible was translated into Latin for the 
^^^^^* benefit of the Roman Christians it is impossible to 
determine, but it is probable that the Latin versions 
made in North Africa in the second century were 
earlier than any of the Italian versions. 

As an illustration of Greek influence in Rome at a 
much later period we may note the fact that Pope 
John V, who was appointed in 685, and six of his 
immediate successors were either Greeks or Syrians. 

The first Roman provincial synod of which we know 

was presided over by Bishop Telesphorus (142-154) 

and was attended by twelve bishops. 

Theniim- Somc indication as to the number of Christians in 

Christians Rome in 251 is afforded by a letter of Cornelius bishop 

in25T^ of Rome referred to by Eusebius,^ which states that 

there were then 46 presbyters, 7 deacons, 5 sub-deacons, 

42 acolytes, 52 exorcists, readers and doorkeepers, 

and 1500 widows and persons in distress, all of whom 

the Master's grace and lovingkindness support." Har- 

nack, commenting on this statement, suggests that 

these figures point to a Christian CathoKc community 

have flocked thither from the whole which is not their own. " Ad Helviam 

world. . . . The majority have left M air em de Consolatione, c. 6. 

their homes and come to the great- ^ See Harnack, Exp. of C. ii. 241 f . 

est and fairest of cities, yet a city ^ vi. 43. 

ITALY 211 

numbering about 30,000.^ There were also at this 
period in Rome a Montanist, a Theodotian, and a 
Mareionite church and several Gnostic churches.^ 
If we count the Catholic and Novatian bishops it 
would appear that by the middle of the third century 
Italy possessed nearly 100 bishops.^ 

Harnack suggests that by the beginning of the fourth Spread of 
century almost every town of any considerable size anHy/ 
in Italy had a bishop or at any rate a Christian com- 
munity within its walls.* 

Gaudentius bishop of Brescia (387), referring to the state- 
rapid spread of Christianity in Italy during the fourth "^^^ ^^ 
century, writes, '' It is clear that the heathen hastened ^^^^i^s- 
with the celerity of a running wheel to leave the error 
of idolatry into which they had formerly sunk and to 
adopt Christian truth." ^ 

Prior to the reign of Constantine the Christians slow pro- 
in Italy formed, however, but a small fraction offhe^^^^ 
the total population. Thus Harnack writes : '' This ""^^^^l^ 
[Christian] population would be denser wherever Greeks 
formed an appreciable percentage of the inhabitants, 
i.e, in the maritime towns of Lower Italy and Sicily, 
although the Latin- speaking population would still 
remain for the most part pagan. The fact that the 
Christian Church of Rome was predominantly Greek 
till shortly before the middle of the third century is 
proof positive that up till then the Christianizing 

1 Exp. of C. ii. 248. Gibbon and * For a list of places in Italy and 
Dollinger put the number at 50,000. Sicily in which Christian Churches 
The total population of Rome at probably existed before 325 see 
this time is estimated by Gibbon at Harnack, Exp. 0} C. 253-7. There 
1,200,000. were Christians at Syracuse at least 

2 Harnack, Id. p. 247. as early as 250. 

3 Harnack, Id. p. 249. s g^^ Migne, P.L. xx. col. 892. 


of the Latin population in Middle and Lower Italy 
must have been still in an inchoate state, although it 
certainly made rapid strides between 250 and 320."^ 
Christian Somc indication of the extent of the Christian popu- 
the^cata^ latiou in Romc is afforded by the number of Christians 
combs. y^Yio were buried in the catacombs. The total length 
of the galleries has been reckoned at from 500 to 800 
miles and the number of burials at from one and a 
half to six millions. There are no inscriptions later 
than 410, and by far the larger part of the tombs 
belongs to the century and a half which preceded the 
edict of Constantine in 313. 
Sites of With the possible exception of Genoa there do not 
rics,T25. appear to have been any Christian Churches in 
Piedmont or Liguria prior to 325. By this date 
bishoprics had been established at Ravenna, Milan, 
Aquileia, Brescia, Verona, Bologna and Imola, and 
Christian communities perhaps existed at Padua, 
Bergamo, Como, Piacenza, Modena, Cremona and 
Christi- Pavia.^ That Christianity subsequently spread through- 
north^^ out the north of Italj^ with considerable rapidity 
^*^^^* is shown by the fact that in 396 Ambrose bishop of 
Milan could write to the Church in Vercelli, " The 
Church of the Lord in your midst has not yet a priest, 
it being the only one that is deprived of the service of 
a priest in all Liguria, or JEmilia, or Venetia, or the 
other districts that border on Italy." ^ 

A poet named Severus Sanctus Endelechius, a friend 
of Paulinus of Nola, writing at the beginning of the 
fifth century says that Christians are only to be found 

1 Harnack, Exp. of G. ii. 329. ^ Ep. i. 63. Migne, P. L. xvi. 

2 Harnack, ii. 259. col. 1189. 

ITALY 213 

in large towns,^ and his statement contains a con- 
siderable measure of truth. 

A distressing picture of the luxury in which the Luxury 
bishop of Rome lived in 366 is suggested by the words christian 
of Ammianus Marcellinus, who, after describing ag^^'"''^' 
fight that took place in a church in Rome between the 
followers of Damasus and XJrsinus, rival claimants for 
the bishopric, and which resulted in the death of 137 
persons, writes, '' I do not deny . . . that those who 
are ambitious for this thing [the bishopric] ought to 
spare no effort in the fray to secure what they want, 
for if they get it, they will be sure of being enriched 
by the offerings of matrons, of riding about in carriages, 
dressed in clothes the cynosure of every eye, and of 
giving banquets so profuse that their entertainments 
shall surpass the tables of kings." ^ Nor was it only 
in Rome that the luxury of the bishops became a 
scandal to the community. In the East Bishop Paul 
of Samosata lived in greater state than that adopted 
by the Roman emperors.^ 

By the middle of the fourth century the Govern- Pagan 
ment, influenced by the representatives of the Christian monies 
Church, had begun to prohibit the public performance g[b[ted. 
of pagan rites. Thus the Emperor Constantius, in 
an edict issued in 341, writes : — " Let superstition 
cease and the insanity of sacrificial rites be aboKshed." ^ 
In 391 Theodosius prohibited all entrance into 
heathen temples, and in the following year he pro- 

^ He writes, 2 xxvii. 3, 12. 

"Signum quod perhibent esse » g^g jjuseb. v. 30. 

crucis Dei, 4 Codex Theodosianus, xvi. 10, 1, 

Magnis qui colitur solus in 2, "cesset superstitio, sacrificiorum 

urbibus," aboleatur insania." 
quoted in Hauck's K. D. i. 38 n. 


hibited even private worship and all offerings to Lares, 
Penates and family deities.^ But though Theodosius 
endeavoured to suppress pagan worship, he continued 
to honour many who openly professed their old 
religion. Thus he appointed Symmachus ^ as a 
consul at Rome, Libanius ^ as prefect of the palace 
at Constantinople, and Themistius^ as prefect of 
Decline of At the beginning of the reign of Honorius (395), 
Fn Eom^ temples to at least nine different deities were still 
standing in Rome, and festivals and ceremonies in 
connection with them were observed. Shortly after- 
wards, however, it would appear that these temples 
fell into disuse. Thus Jerome, writing in 403, says, 
" The golden capitol is dishonoured, all the temples 
of Rome stand begrimed with cobwebs ... and the 
populace streams past the half- demolished shrines on 
their way to the tombs of the martyrs." ^ The hope 
of being able to forecast the future by the examination 
of the entrails of victims explains why many, who 
were intellectually convinced of the truth of Christi- 
anity, still clung to the practice of offering heathen 
sacrifices. A decree of Theodosius issued in 385 had 
pronounced the punishment of death upon any who 
thus attempted to forecast the future.^ 

An imperial edict, issued by Theodosius II, in 423, 
assumes that heathenism was then almost extinct, 

^ Codex Theodosianus, xvi. 10, 1, 12. where presides the king of kings, 

2 Prudentius, In Symm. i. iv. 623. even Jupiter himself." Themist. 

3 Libanius, Ep. 765. Orat. xvi. 

* Libanius, Ej). 38. Themistius, ^ E'p. cvii. 

referring to his entering the place * Codex Theod. xvi. 10, 1, 9. See 

where the senate was assembled, Ghastel, Destruction du paganisme, 

said, " I entered this sacred place 188. 

ITALY 215 

and directs that any found sacrificing to " demons " 
are to be punished by confiscation of goods and 

St. Augustine's City of God, which was com- 
pleted in 426, and, to a lesser degree, the History of 
the World written by the Spaniard Orosius at the 
instigation of St. Augustine, helped to give the death- 
blow to the cause of philosophic paganism. 

In December 408 Honorius issued a decree ad- Removal 
dressed to Curtius the prefect of Italy, which directed linrges^.^ 
that all images in temples should be removed, that the 
temples should be converted to secular uses, and that 
the endowments of heathen festivals should be devoted 
to provide payment for the army.^ It is interesting 
to note that Augustine disapproved of the treatment 
of the temples which was ordered by this edict. He 
wrote, " Let us first extirpate the idolatry of the hearts 
of the heathen and they will either themselves assist us, 
or anticipate us, in the execution of this good work." ^ 
The bishops of the towns were empowered to suppress 
pagan customs and the civil authorities were ordered 
to assist them. The edict was not however extensively 
enforced and the next emperor of Rome, Attains, was 
himself a pagan. A belief in magic, divination and The belief 
astrology exercised a widespread influence in the later ^^ "**^^^* 
days of paganism and long after paganism had been 
legally suppressed. Thus when Rome was threatened 
by the Goths in 408, some Tuscan magicians offered 

^ C. Th. xvi. 10, 1, 22, 23. "Pag- later decrees against paganism, in 

anos qui supersunt, quanquam jam 435 and 438. 

nullos esse credamus, promnlgatarum ^ Cod. Theod. xvi. x. 20. 

legum jamdudum prescripta com- ^ Tom. v. p. 62. 
pescant." Theodosius II issued two 


their services to Pompeianus the prefect, assuring him 
that by their spells they could save the city from its 
enemies. Pompeianus on this occasion sought advice 
from Innocent the bishop of Rome. Whether he, 
too believed in magic, or whether he feared the populace 
is uncertain ; but, instead of protesting against its 
use, he merely stipulated that the magical rites should 
be performed in secret. The Christian historian 
Sozomen ^ implies that the magical rites were performed, 
but were unavailing : the heathen writer Zosimus ^ 
says that they were not performed. 
Capture of The Capture of Rome by Alaric in 410 meant the 
Aiaric, ^ final overthrow of paganism in the city of Rome. As 
^^^' paganism gradually died out many temples were con- 
verted into churches and local deities were in some 
cases transformed into Christian saints.^ 
Heathen " The worship of the heathen deities . . . was super- 
^Listian seded by the new form of Christianity, which at least 
in its outward appearance approximated to polythe- 
ism : the Virgin gradually supplanted many of the 
local deities. In Sicily, which long remained obsti- 
nately wedded to the ancient faith, eight celebrated 
temples were dedicated to the Mother of God." ^ 

The last pagan festival, the Lupercalia, was sup- 
pressed by Pope Gelasius in 493, but heathenism 
lingered on till it was finally eradicated by the efforts 
of the monks towards the end of the fifth century. 

The reverence, if not worship, offered to the relics 

1 ix. 6. iii. 182. According to Beugnot {De- 

2 V. 41. struction du paganisme, ii. 271) this 

3 At Siena the temple of Quirinus occurred soon after the Council of 
became the Church of St. Quirino. Ephesus had accorded to the Blessed 

* Milman, Hist, of Christianity, Virgin the title SeoroKos. 


ITALY 217 

of martyrs and saints which became prominent at the 
end of the fourth century, was in many cases a con- 
tinuation of worship that had been previously offered 
to some pagan god. Whilst Julian and Libanius had 
ridiculed the Christians for worshipping a number of 
dead men, the Christian writer Theodoret definitely 
claimed that the Lord had substituted the martyrs for 
the heathen gods, and given them their glory. ^ 

Looking back over the long period of time that has Zeus and 
elapsed since the Greek and Roman gods ceased to be Krishna*^^ 
regarded as real beings, it is difficult for us to recon- ^^^ ^^^^• 
struct in thought the conflict that was waged during 
the third and fourth centuries between their wor- 
shippers and the followers of Christ. The conflict 
which is now in progress in north India may, however, 
give us some help towards such a reconstruction. 
Dr Glover writes, '' Zeus and Athena are not now, and 
we can only with difficulty conceive them ever to have 
been for thinking men, even with all the generous 
allowances philosophers might make, a possible alter- 
native to Christ. Yet are they stranger than Krishna 
and Kali ? Is it not possible to-day for man to halt 
between two opinions in India, and find in the philo- 
sophy or theosophy of thirty centuries of Hinduism 
an attraction which may outweigh Christianity ? When 
we think of the age of Julian we must not forget that 
the Brahmo-Samaj exists to-day." ^ 

The last stage of the final struggle between Christi- 
anity and paganism in the Roman Empire, and more 

^ Grcecarum Affectionum Curatio, rois hk rh iKeivosv dir^veiiJie y^pas. 

viii. Migne, P. (rr. lxxxiii.,col. 1033. ^ Life and Letters in the Fourth 

rods oUeiovs veKpoifs 6 Aea-nrSrTjs dvT€i<T7j^€ Century ^ by T. R. Glover, p. 48. 
{avT^ToJ^e) rots vfieripois Qeoh . . . toO- 


particularly in Italy, has for the student of Missions 
a peculiar interest, inasmuch as it resembles in several 
essential features the struggle between Christianity 
and Hinduism, Buddhism or Confucianism which is 
going on now in India and the Far East. As is 
the case to-day in India, China and Japan, so was it 
in the fourth century, the opposition that was called 
forth by the preaching of the Christian faith resulted 
The sub- in the sublimation and purification of the faiths to 
of heathen which it was placed in opposition, until the rules of 
teachings. j-£^ ^^^ couduct iuculcatcd by their noblest exponents 
became so exalted that there seemed little to choose 
between them and those of the teachers of Christianity. 
In this and in several other respects, the exponents 
of Hinduism and Buddhism in their efforts to stem the 
tide of Christianity in the East are acting even as the 
teachers of paganism acted in the time of Julian. 
Julian. His story is one of the saddest which it is possible to 

read. A man naturally religious was driven, we might 
almost say forced, by the meanness, the bigotry and 
the hypocrisy of the Christians with whom he was 
brought into contact, to renounce his profession of 
Christianity and to seek in a purified and eclectic 
heathenism the satisfaction for himself and, as he 
vainly hoped, for his fellow-countrymen of his pure 
and noble aspirations. The words attributed to 
him as he was dying (363), "O Galilean, Thou hast 
conquered," are apocryphal, but they none the less 
represent the truth. With the death of JuKan was 
extinguished the last hope of a purified heathenism 
that could offer any effective opposition to the ad- 
vancing tide of Christianity. How rapidly a nominal 

ITALY 219 

Christianity reasserted itself in the Roman army may 
be seen from the statement of Socrates ^ that when his 
successor Jovian, who was saluted by the soldiers as 
Caesar, refused the title on the ground that he was a 
Christian, they answered with one voice that they 
too were Christians. Fifteen years later Ambrose of 
Milan (writing in 377 or 378) says that the schools of 
the heathen philosophers which JuKan had encouraged 
were already deserted, whilst the number of simple 
believers daily increased.^ 

The last stronghold of heathenism in Rome was the 
Roman senate. Its members represented the tradi- 
tions and the glories of the past. Moreover, the city 
was full of temples,^ many of which had been built to 
commemorate victories, and the senate was specially 
concerned to preserve intact the religious ceremonies 
connected with them. Paganism in fact remained the Paganis 
state religion of Rome till 383, and well on into thereilgtn 
fifth century it was represented in Rome by some^'^^^^^- 
of its leading citizens. Professor Lindsay writes : 
"Paganism never showed itself to greater advantage 
than during its last years of heroic but unavailing 
struggle. Its leaders, j\rhether in the schools of Athens 
or among the senatorial party at Rome, were for the 
most part men of pure Uves with a high moral standard 
of conduct, men who commanded esteem and respect. 
Immorality abounded but the pagan standard had 

1 Hist. Bed, iii. 22-26. 3 j^ the time of Julian the city of 

2 De Ftde, i. cap. xiii. " Philo- Rome contained 152 temples and 180 
sophi soli in suis gymnasiis reman- smaller chapels or shrines, most of 
serunt. Illi quotidie a suis con- which were used for public worship, 
sortibus deseruntur, qui copiose dis- The capitol alone contained 50 
putant ; isti quotidie crescunt qui temples or shrines. 

simpliciter credunt." 


become much higher. Christians and heathen were full 
of mutual esteem for each other. The letters ex- 
changed between Symmachus and Ambrose reveal 
the intimacy in which the nobler pagans and earnest- 
minded Christians lived. Even the caustic Jerome 
seems to have a lurking but sincere affection for some 
of the leaders of the pagan senatorial party." ^ 
The weak- The weakucss of this nobler form of paganism was 
juvenated the wcakucss which characterizes the rejuvenated 
paganism, jjjjj^j^igj^^ g^j^^ Buddhism of to-day ; it had no saving 
or uplifting force which it could impart to the poor, 
the unlearned and the miserable. The possession of 
this force and of the power to impart it gave to Christi- 
anity its irresistible success as a missionary religion. 
Despite all the failings of individual Christians, despite 
the avarice, the self-seeking, the pride and the bigotry, 
which repelled men of a noble nature who like Julian 
possessed a genuinely religious spirit, the Christian 
community then as now was the embodiment of the 
only force which could regenerate human society. 
Survival In the counti^y districts outside Rome and especially 

of pagan- .^n tii •!• tp 

i&minthe m bouthcm Italy paganism Imgered on tor many years. 

districts. Naples was specially distinguished for its persistent ad- 
herence to paganism, and Etruria continued for a long 
time to supply the whole of Italy with pagan diviners. 
A tractate of Maximus of Turin written about 450 
entitled Contra paganos speaks of paganism as pre- 
vailing generally in the surrounding districts .^ The 
lack of means of communication may in part account 
for the long continuance of paganism in the south. 
Its formal abolition may perhaps be dated from 500, 

^ Gambridge MedicevalHistory,!. 116. ^ See Migne, P. L. Ivii. col. 781. 

ITALY 221 

when Theodoric issued a decree directing that all 
persons found sacrificing in accordance with pagan 
rites should be put to death. 

When Benedict arrived at the site of Monte Cassino Benedict 
in 529, prior to the foundation of the monastery, he^^^pagans 
found paganism still surviving. St. Gregory in his ^^ ^^^* 
life of Benedict says that there existed there a very 
ancient shrine of Apollo and a sacred wood where the 
foolish peasants worshipped Apollo and other demons.^ 
As the result of Benedict's preaching they cut down 
the sacred wood and destroyed the shrine and idol, 
and on this site rose the famous monastery from which 
missionaries went forth into far distant lands. 

On leaving Bregenz in 613 Columbanus, who hadcoium- 
at first contemplated attempting missionary worki^^y^eis. 
amongst the Slavonians, crossed the Alps accompanied 
by a single disciple named Attains, and betook himself 
to the court of Agiluf, the king of the Lombards, who 
with his wife Theodelinda gave him a hearty welcome 
at Milan. 

In a secluded gorge of the Apennines between Genoa 
and Milan he founded, and helped with his own hands 
to build, the monastery of Bobbio which afterwards 
became widely famous. During his last days he 
laboured to win the Arians of Lombardy to the orthodox 
faith and to convert the pagans who were still to be 
found in the neighbourhood. He declined an invita- 
tion sent to him by Clothaire II to return to the mona- 
stery which he had founded at Luxeuil and eventually Death at 
died at Bobbio in 615 a.d., at the age of 72.2 Bobbio, 

^ Gregory, Fito JBen. c. viii. 1 89 ff. His age at the date of his death 

* For references to the life and is not quite certain, 
work of Columbanus see above, p. 


A cave is pointed out in a mountain gorge near 
Bobbio in which Columbanus is said to have Uved 
towards the end of his Ufe, only returning to the 
monastery to spend Sundays and Saints' Days with 
his brethren. 

Jonas, the biographer of Columbanus, tells how a 
certain monk when travelling from Bobbio to Tortona 
attempted to destroy a wooden temple which he found 
on the shores of the Serivia, and how he was beaten 
and thrown into the water by the pagan worshippers 
connected with the temple. 
St. Bar- Although the life of St. Barbatus, given in the Acta 
batus. Sanctorum^ for Feb. 19, does not, in its earhest form, 
apparently date earlier than the ninth century, it 
affords evidence that instances of paganism were to 
be found in southern Italy well on into the seventh 
century. Barbatus was born in 602, and the scene 
of his missionary labours was among the Samnites 
near Beneventum, whose king Romwald, was a son of 
the Lombard king Grimwald. Romwald's subjects 
had been baptized, but nevertheless continued to 
worship the image of a viper, and to pay homage to a 
'' sacrilegious " tree that grew near the walls of their 
city. Barbatus reasoned with them and showed them 
that they could not serve two masters, but must choose 
between idolatry and the worship of God, and by the 
performance of many wonderful miracles he softened 
their hearts and induced them to listen to his teaching. 
becomes After a time the town of Beneventum was besieged by 
Bene? ""^ the f orccs of Coustautius, and its inhabitants were on 
the point of surrendering, whereupon Barbatus promised 

1 An edition by Waitz is printed in the Scriptores Rerum Langohardicarum. 


ITALY 223 

them that if they would renounce their idolatry God 
would defend them and deliver the city out of the 
hands of their enemies. Their deliverance having been 
effected, Barbatus was allowed to cut down the " sacri- 
legious " tree, and eventually the image of the viper 
was melted down and made into a chalice and paten. 
Barbatus is said to have continued as bishop of 
Beneventum for nearly nineteen years, and to have 
died on February 19, 682, in the eightieth year of 
his age. 

In trying to sketch the spread of Christianity 
throughout Italy we have only referred incidentally 
to the work of Constantine and to the influence which 
he exerted upon the missionary activities of the Church 
throughout the Roman Empire. 

The battle of the Milvian Bridge (October 28, 312), Con- 
foUowed as it was by the Edict of Milan, marks dif^M^t^ 
turning-point in the history of the development of g^^^^^^^^^^ 
Christianity. From this time forward the Christian C'^^rch. 
Church was left free to expand throughout the Empire, 
but from this time forward it was deprived of the 
bracing and purifying influence which the con- 
tempt and intermittent persecution of the State had 
exerted upon its members. " The world," wrote 
William Law, " by professing Christianity is so far 
from being a less dangerous enemy than it was 
before, that it has by its favours destroyed more 
Christians than ever it did by the most violent per- 
secution." ^ 

We need not here stop to discuss the personal char- 
acter of Constantine. His greatest admirers will admit 

^ Serious Gall, chap. xvii. 


that he committed ghastly crimes ^ and that throughout 
his Kfe his profession and practice of the Christian faith 
bore httle relation the one to the other. On the other 
hand we must remember the low standard of morality 
which prevailed at the time in which he hved. The 
German historian Niebuhr writes : '' Many judge of 
Constantine by too severe a standard, because they 
regard him as a Christian. But I cannot look upon 
him in that light. The religion which he had in his 
head must have been a strange jumble indeed. . . . 
He was a superstitious man, and mixed up his Christian 
rehgion with all kinds of absurd superstitions and 
opinions. When certain oriental writers call him 
' equal to the Apostles ' they do not know what they 
are saying, and to speak of him as a saint is a profana- 
tion of the word." 2 Whatever judgment we may 
pass upon the personal character of Constantine we 
The com- cau entertain little doubt that the compromise between 
between paganism and Christianity which he effected ^ was dis- 
paganism g^gt^-o^g to the bcst iutcrcsts of the Christian Church. 

and. bnris- « • i i 

tianity. Quc who was a carcful student of history and who 

did much to emphasize the missionary obhgations of 
the Christian Church, referring to his conversion, wrote : 
" The conversion of Constantine was the greatest 
calamity which ever happened to the Church. ' Con- 
quer by this.' Surely none can conquer by this save 
by dying upon it. Up to that time martyrs looked 

1 E.g. the murder of his wife Bp. J. Wordsworth in the Dictionary 
Fausta and his son Crispus, which of Christian Biography. 

occurred after the Council of Nicsea. ^ After his death Constantine re- 

2 Lectures on Roman History, ceived the honours of apotheosis and 
cap. V. For a critical appreciation the title of " divus. " See Eutropius, 
of the life and character of Con- x. 10. 

stantine see art. " Constantine " by 

ITALY 225 

to the Cross that they might have divine strength to 
follow their crucified Redeemer. Thenceforward the 
benefits of Christ's Passion came to be regarded rather 
as a security for a future life than as an elevating power 
by which they might glorify God on earth. . . . Chris- 
tianity triumphed in name but the world triumphed 
in power." ^ 

Bishop Westcott, who takes a more favourable Bp.West- 
view of Constantine's work and character, writes : the^char- 
'' Slowly and painfully, moving ever towards the light, Q^^j^g^^^- 
he seems to have seen, as he advanced, more and more tine. 
clearly what the faith was which at first he identified 
with the Author of his own successes. . . . Constantine 
is a figure of the passage from the old world to the 
new. ... If his worth be estimated by what he did 
he will rank second to few among the benefactors of 
humanity." ^ 

The conversion of Constantine resulted in the rapid Results of 
extension of a profession of Christianity throughout version 
the Empire, but, as might have been anticipated, the 
conversion of his subjects was no deeper or more com- 
plete than was that of their Emperor. ''It is a fact 
of grim and terrible significance that the geograpliical 
extension and external triumph of Christianity, which 
was intended to be the light of the world, coincided 
with the beginning of that period which historians 

^ Art. by R. M. Benson (Founder Saviour to the Cross, according to the 

of the Cowley Brotherhood) : The familiar legend, he used them for 

East and the West, vol. i. p. 293. his helmet and the bit of his war- 

2 The Two Empires, p. 232 f. horse. The fragment of the Cross 

Bp. W. adds, " Even to the last he itself he placed in his own statue 

stands before us as Constantine the with the attributes of the sun at 

Conqueror. When Helena sent him Constantinople." 
the nails^ which had fastened the 



have generally 5 and not unjustly, called '' the Dark 
Ages." 1 

Eusebius in his life of Constantine refers to the 
'' unspeakable hypocrisy of those who creep into the 
Church and make a spurious profession of Christi- 
anity." 2 
Constan- It is hardly possible to avoid asking the question, 
Marcus On what lines might the Christian Church have deve- 
loped, and what would have been its influence as a 
missionary agency if the character of Constantine 
had been other than it was, or if an emperor such 
as Marcus Aurehus had been on the throne when 
Christianity became nominally the religion of the 
State ? 

It is indeed a tragedy of history to which it would 
be impossible to find a parallel that to the best and 
most religious emperor who ever controlled the fortunes 
of the Roman Empire should never have been vouch- 
There- safcd any knowledge of the Christian faith other than 
oOL that which was supphed to him by its opponents. 
The solitary and scornful reference to it which occurs 
in his Meditations suggests that he was wholly 
unacquainted with its teachings. Had he read any 
defence of Christianity such as the second Apology 
of Justin Martyr which was addressed to the emperor, 
or had he come in contact with any great Christian 
personality, we cannot doubt that he would have 
become an ardent disciple of Jesus Christ. Had he 
become a Christian, and had he been able to retain his 

1 The Church and the World in dXeKTOu tQv ttjv iKKX-nalav virobvofiipwv 
Idea and in History, by W. Hob- koI to XpLo-TiapQv eTrnrXdaTtas <rxvf^^- 
house, p. 153. rii^ofxipiav 6vofia. 

2 Vita Const, iv. 54. elpuveiav r 


ITALY 227 

seat on the imperial throne, it might well have been 
the case that he would have exerted a profound in- 
fluence upon the development of the Christian Church 
throughout the world. " It is," as John Stuart Mill 
says in his Essay on Liberty, '^ one of the most tragical 
facts of all history that Constantine, rather than 
Marcus Aurehus, was the first Christian emperor. It 
is a bitter thought how different the Christianity of 
the world might have been, had it been adopted as 
the rehgion of the empire under the auspices of Marcus 
Aurelius instead of those of Constantine." As the 
case was it is not difficult for us to understand his 
motive for instituting a persecution against the 
Christians. He was unfeignedly devoted to the 
worship of the gods on whose temples from his palace 
on the Palatine he gazed from day to day, and to whose 
providential care he believed the building up of the 
greatest empire which the world had ever seen was 
due. He was told by those on whose word he had 
been accustomed to rely that the imperial city, which 
contained countless thousands who worshipped the 
national deities, contained also a sect which had arisen 
but yesterday, and which, not content with refusing 
to do honour to these gods, declared that they were 
phantoms of the imagination, or worse still personifi- 
cations of the forces of evil, and who claimed for the 
Being whom they worshipped a soUtary supremacy. 
He would further have been told that this sect was 
inspired with missionary activity foreign to the wor- 
shippers of all other gods, which had already resulted 
in spreading its doctrines throughout the remotest 
districts, doctrines which constituted an increas- 


ing danger to the institutions and religion of the 
Diary Dr Glover, after referring to his diary as "in many 

Au^iius. ways the saddest of all books," writes, " Its manliness 
and purity, its high ideals and earnestness, make more 
pathetic that haunting uncertainty and want of rest 
which one feels throughout it. The theory of life is 
so obviously only a working hypothesis, unverifiable 
at best. ... He is no atheist, no sceptic perhaps, 
but he looks for heavenly guidance and is not conscious 
of receiving it, and so he makes his own way sadly as 
well as he can. Yet from the story of his life we learn 
that this thinker, this speculator, emancipated as we 
might suppose him from common weakness, sacrificed 
perhaps more than any other Roman Emperor. If 
he was not to attain light from the gods, it was not to 
be for want of asking it. So doubt and devotion went 
hand in hand in sadness." ^ 

Had the conversion of Italy and of the countries 
bordering on the Mediterranean been less superficial, 
and had the missionaries and early Christian teachers 
succeeded in inspiring the population of these countries 
with the true ideals of the Christian faith, the sub- 
sequent history of Europe would have been far other 
than it has been. As it is, we cannot dispute the truth 
Christi- of the words of a modern historian who writes : ''It 
IhelaAy ^^ impossiblc to read the history of the early Middle 
Middle 4ggs without feeling that for the first six centuries 
after the fall of the western Empire, there is little or 
no progress. The night grows darker and darker, 
and we seem to get ever deeper into the mire. Not 

1 Life and Letters in the Fourth Century, T. R. Glover, pp. 306 f. 


ITALY 229 

till we are quite clear of the wrecks of the Carolingian 
fabric, not till the days of William the Norman and 
Hildebrand, do we seem to be making any satisfactory 
progress out of Chaos into Cosmos." ^ 

^ Italy and Her Invaders, H. T. Hodgkin, ii. 536 f. 



Countries Undee. the term Balkan peninsula we include the 
in the couutries which now constitute Greece, Bulgaria, 
peninJliia. Rumania, Turkey in Europe, Serbia, Herzegovina, 
Albania and Dalmatia. The ancient districts or pro- 
vinces as they existed in the fourth century in which 
these territories were included were Achaia, which 
included the Peloponnesus ; Epirus, which included the 
western half of northern Greece ^ ; Macedonia, which 
included north-eastern Greece and the southern parts 
of Serbia and Bulgaria ; Thracia, which included Turkey 
in Europe and part of Bulgaria ; Upper Moesia, which 
included the northern parts of Serbia; and Lower 
Moesia, which included north Bulgaria ; and Dalmatia 
on the Adriatic which extended much more to the east 
than does the present Dalmatia and included Albania 
and Herzegovina. Modern Rumania formed part of 
Christian By the end of the first century a Christian community 
m^ities apparently existed in the following places : Philippi, 
'^ ^^^ ^•'^- Thessalonica and Beroea in Macedonia (Acts xvii.) ; 
Nicopohs in Epirus (Titus iii. 12) ; Athens, Corinth and 
Cenchrsea in Greece; lUyria (Romans xv. 19), and 

^ The expression Illyria was used The term was also used of a much 

in the early centuries to denote wider area including Dalmatia and 

portions of Epirus and Macedonia. Pannonia. 

Plate 3. 

in tlie 5*^ Century 

Statute Mijes \ 

SO 100 150 

Lon^pnans, Green & Co.. Loadon. New York. Bombay. Calcutta & Madras."'^* "^''"'^^"^ ^ ^°"' ^^^ 



Dalmatia (2 Tim. iv. 10). It is possible that St. Peter St. Peter 
may have laboured as a missionary in Greece, or in 
other parts of the Balkan peninsula. That he taught 
for some time in Corinth may perhaps be inferred from 
the statement of St. Paul that there arose a party in 
that city which said of him, " I am of Peter." Moreover 
Dionysius of Corinth, writing to Soter bishop of Rome, 
speaks of " the plantation of Peter and Paul at Rome 
and Corinth." ^ 

By the year 180 a.d. Christian communities were 
also in existence at Debeltum and Anchialus ^ and prob- 
ably at Byzantium,^ at Larissa in Thessaly,* in Lace- 
daemon,^ at Cnossus and Gortyna and other towns in 
Crete ^ and at Same in Cephalonia.' 

The one outstanding figure in Greece in the, second Dionysius 
centiu'y is Dionysius bishop of Corinth {circ. 170) who 
wrote a series of letters containing counsel and exhorta- 
tion to the Christians of Lacedaemon, Athens, Rome and 
other places.^ Fragments of these letters have been pre- 
served for us by Eusebius. Early in the fourth century 
there were apparently separate churches or ecclesi- 
astical provinces in Pannonia, Dacia, Moesia, Thrace, 
Achaia and Macedonia.^ A little later, according to 
the list given by Duchesne,^** Eubcea had three bishop- 

^ See Euseb, Hist. Eccl. ii. 25. wrote to Athens and Lacedaemon 

- Euseb. H. E. v. 19. as metropolitan, to Crete and Pontus 

' Hippol. Philos. vii. 35. as a colleague and equal, and to the 

* Melito in Eus. H. E. iv. 26. bishop of Rome as a modest and ad- 

^ Dionysius of Corinth in Eus. miring colleague." Exp. of CAi.2Sl. 

H. E. iv. 23. ® Optatus bishop of Milevi (ii. 1), 

^ Ibid. writing about 384, refers to the 

' Clem. Alex. Strom, iii. 2, 5. **ecclesiaintribusPannoniis,inDacia, 

^ Hamack writes, *' The tone of his Mcesia, Thracia, Achaia, Macedonia." 

letters which can be felt in the brief ^° Les anciens Mchea de la Orece, 

extracts of Eusebius, shows that he p. 14. 

232 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

rics, Attica one, Northern Greece ten, and the Pelo- 
ponnesus seven. It is probable that throughout the 
greater part of the Balkan peninsula, prior to the time 

Christi- of Constantine, the Christian population was small 

confined and chiefly confined to the towns. Of the missionary 

towns activities by which the Christian faith was spread we 
know nothing. The following references to Christians 
in various towns in the peninsula, whilst they prove 
the existence of Christian communities in the places 
mentioned, throw little light upon the means by which 
they were established. Polycarp addressed an epistle 

Phiiippi. to the Christians at Philippi just before his martyrdom 
in 155, in which he specially exhorts them to refrain 
from covetousness, and recalls the teaching given to 

Thes- them by St. Paul. The metropolitan bishop of Thes- 
salonica, Alexander, was present at the Council of 
Nicaea. According to the statement of Dionysius of 

Athens. Corinth, the first bishop of Athens was Dionysius the 
Areopagite.i The apologist Aristides and perhaps 
Clement of Alexandria came from Athens. Origen, 
who had spent some time in Athens, wrote, " The 
Church of God at Athens is a peaceable and orderly 
body, as it desires to please Almighty God." ^ Its 
bishop, Pistus, was present at Nicaea. On the other 
hand Gregory of Nazianzus, who was educated at Athens 
in the middle of the fourth century, refers to the 
strength of paganism and pagan teaching at that time.^ 
Clement bishop of Rome, writing in a.d. 95 to the 

Corinth, church at Corinth, after referring to the " detestable 
and unholy sedition " that had arisen in their midst, 

^ Acts xvii. 34. also statements by Libanius in De 

2 Contra Celsum, iii. 30. vita sua, p. 13. 

^ See Oration 43, ch. xiv. See 



praises them for their " stedfast faith " and that they 
" were ready unto every good work." ^ Hegesippus, a 
Jewish Christian, writing about 180, says, " the church 
of the Corinthians continued in the orthodox teach- 
ing till Primus was bishop in Corinth. I conversed 
with them in the course of my voyage to Rome and 
spent many days with the Corinthians during which 
we refreshed each other with orthodox teaching." ^ 
Origen speaks of the Christians at Corinth in the same 
terms as of those at Athens.^ Dionysius of Corinth 
wrote a letter to the church of Lacedaemon enjoining Lace- 
peace and imity.* Of this church Harnack writes, ^*^°^- 
'' The fact of a Christian community existing in a 
country town like Lacedaemon by the year 170 proves 
that missionary work had been done from Corinth 
throughout the Peloponese, although, as we see from 
the subsequent period, Christianity only got a footing 
there with difficulty." ^ 

Philostorgius ^ relates how the Emperor Constantius 
brought what he beheved to be the remains of St. 
Andrew and St. Luke from Achaia to Constantinople.' Achaia. 

There was a Christian church at Byzantium in Europe Byzan- 
prior to the founding of Constantinople in 326.® ^^^' 

Some Slavonic tribes who had settled in the interior 

^ Ep. ad Cor. i. and ii. to Harnack there was a Christian 

2 Hegesippus in Eus. H. E. iv. 22. community before 325, in addition 

^ Contra Celsum, iii. 30. to those ah-eady mentioned, are 

4 Eus: H. E. iv. 23. Heraclea (Perinthus), Stobi in Mace- 

s Exp. of Christianity, ii. 233 f. donia, Thebes in Thessaly, Euboea, 

* Philostorgius, iii. 2. Pele in Thessaly, Scupi (Uskub) in 

^ Harnack writes, " It is not im- Dardania, Adrianopolis, Drizipara 

possible that Andrew and Luke and Ephibata in Thrace, Buthrotum 

really died in Achaia." Exp. of C. in Epirus and Pydna. Exp. of C. 

ii. 234. ii. p. 235. 

® Other places in which according 


The Peio- of Hellas Were converted by missionaries who were 

ponnesus. ^^^^ ^^ them by the Emperor Basil, circ. 870, 
and about this time the Mainots, descendants of the 
ancient Greeks who inhabited the rocky fastnesses in 
the neighbourhood of Mount Taygetus in the south 
of the Peloponnesus, were forced to accept Christian 
baptism. Constantine Porphyrogenitus (905-59) refers 
to the obstinacy with which these had long clung to 
the pagan worship of the Greeks.^ 

St. Paul apparently visited lUyria^ to the south of 

Daimatia. Dalmatia, which was afterwards included in Macedonia, 
and Titus went to Daimatia.^ Harnack writes, '' The 
wealth of inscriptions which have been discovered 
reveals a considerable amount of Christianity in Dai- 
matia which may be held with great probability to go 
back to the pre-Constantine period, particularly as 

Saiona. regards Salona where a local churchyard is traced 
back as far as the beginning of the second century."^ 
Domnio bishop of Salona was martyred there under 
Diocletian. Four Christian stonemasons worked in 
the mines of Fruschka Gora, whither Cyril bishop of 
Antioch was also banished. 

Mcesia. We Icam from the list of bishops who were present 

at Nicaea that there was at that time a bishop of Sardica 
in Upper Moesia,^ and one at Marcianopolis in Lower 
Moesia near the shores of the Black Sea. From the 
Acta Sanctorum we learn that there had been Christian 
martyrs before this date at Dorostorum, Tomi, Axio- 

^ Constant. Porphyr. de administ. ^ 2 Tim. iv. 10. 

imp. ; see Hardwick's Middle Ages, ^ Exp. of C, ii. p. 238. 

p. 136 n., and Chastel, Destruct, du ^ Known also as Dacia Aureliani, 

Paganisme, p. 305 f . the scene of the Church Council, see 

2 Rom. XV. 19. above, pp. 91, 174. 


polls and Noviodunum. There was also probably a 
bishopric at Naissus in Upper Moesia. 

Eusebius, describing the dedication of a church atMoesians 
Jerusalem, says that the Moesians and Pannonians saiem.^^ 
were represented by " the fairest bloom of God's youth- 
ful stock among them." ^ His words imply that 
Christianity had but recently spread in Mcesia and 

At Sardica, the modern Sofia and the capital of Council of 
Bulgaria, a Church Council was held in 343 during the 343. ^^^' 
Arian controversy. The Eastern bishops, having failed 
to agree with those who came from the West, withdrew 
and held a rival Council at PhiKppopolis. 

The majority of the pagan temples in Greece remained 
intact, and the pagan ceremonial connected with them 
continued till nearly the end of the foiu'th century. 
The destruction of the temples and the abolition of 
pagan sacrifices were effected by the Gothic invaders invasion 
who, after devastating the whole country between the Goths! 
Adriatic and the Euxine, forced the Pass of Thermopylae 
in 396, and overran with fire and sword the whole of 
Greece. According to Eunapius ^ it was Greek monks 
who showed the Goths the Pass of Thermopylae and 
helped them to invade Greece. The Goths had them- 
selves been recently converted to Christianity. They 
razed Olympiad with its famous temple of Zeus and 
massacred its inhabitants. Athens alone was spared, 
in consequence apparently of a large bribe contributed 
by its inhabitants. The magnificent temple of Eleusis, 
famous during so many centuries for its mysterious 

^ See below, p. 284, note. Synop. i. 326) the last Olympic 

2 Eunap. in Maxim, p. 476. games were held in 393. 

^ According to Cedrenus {Hist. 

236 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

rites, was destroyed. Many Greeks, on hearing of the 
destruction of Eleusis and Olympia, are said to have 
committed suicide.^ The temples, moreover, that 
escaped the ravages of the Goths were for the most 
part destroyed at the instigation of the Christian 
bishops. Early in the fifth century Chrysostom ap- 
pealed to the rich landowners to build Christian churches 
on their estates to take the place of the temples that 
had been destroyed,^ and in several of his letters that 
have been preserved he urges the monks and clergy to 
promote the destruction of heathen temples. In 432, 
or soon afterwards, the temple of Esculapius in Athens 
was destroyed and the statue of Minerva was removed 
from the Parthenon.^ The schools of philosophy at 
Athens continued to be centres of pagan teaching till 
the reign of Justinian (527-65), who issued a decree 
addressed to the magistrates at Athens forbidding the 
Forcible teaching of philosophy.* A later decree issued by 
skmT^ Justinian, probably in 531, threatens the punishment 
under ^f (Jeath UDOU thosc who continue as pagans after 

Justinian. ... J- o 

having received baptism. It further orders all who 
have not been baptized to assemble, together with 
their wives, children and dependants, in churches and 
there to receive baptism, the administration of which in 
the case of adults was to be preceded by instruction in 
the Christian faith. Those who refused to be baptized 
were to be deprived of all their property and, if convicted 
of sacrificing to idols, were to be put to death.^ Three 
months were allowed for the execution of this decree. 

^ Eunapius in Prise, p. 482. See Chastel, Destruction du Pagan- 

^ Chrysostom, Horn, xviii. in Act. isme, p. 232. 
Apost. 1, 9. ^ John Malalas, Ghron. xviii. 

^ Marinus, Vita Prodi, c. 29, 30. ^ Codex Justinian, i. 11. 


Constantinople was founded by a Christian Emperor Paganism 
and had no heathen traditions,^ but, as the sermons stanti^ 
and other writings of Chrysostom, who was bishop of '^^p^^' 
Constantinople from 398 to 404, testify, much of the 
Christianity which prevailed there was superficial and 
was largely mingled with paganism. A heathen named 
Optatus was prefect of Constantinople in 404.^ 

As an illustration of the pressure that was exerted 
by Theodosius II (408-450) to compel the profession 
of Christianity in Constantinople *and of the super- 
ficiality of the conversions that resulted we may note 
the case of Cyrus, a leading patrician in Constantinople Bishop 
and a pagan. In order to save his life, when he had ^"^' 
been accused as a pagan, he allowed himself to be 
ordained a priest. The Emperor then caused him to 
be made bishop of Cotyaeum, a remote town in Phrygia. 
He reached this town at Christmas time, whereupon 
the people insisted that he should preach them a sermon 
suitable for the festival. The bishop, being compelled 
to comply with their request, spoke as follows, " Brethren, 
let the birth of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ be 
honoured by silence because by hearing alone was the 
Word conceived in the Sacred Virgin. To Him be 
glory for ever and ever. Amen." ^ 

As late as the sixth century we read of the presence Baptism 
of pagans in Constantinople and of the means adopted {^ con-'*^ 
by the Emperor Justinian in 546 for their conversion, no^e^ 
By his orders a number of them were collected in a 
church where they received a brief instruction from 

^ Constant ine prohibited from the ^ Socrates, H. E. vi. 18. 

first idols, sacrifices, pagan festivals ^ Joannes Malalas, Chronographiay 

and gladiatorial shows in Constanti- xiv. p. 362. Migne, xcvii. col. 357 ff. 
nople. Cod. Theod. xvi. 10, 1. 

238 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

Bishop John who immediately afterwards baptized 
them all.i In 561 a number of heathen were dis- 
covered to be Hving in Constantinople, whereupon, their 
books and idols having been burnt, they were mutilated 
and led in disgrace through the streets of the city/^ 
Kuma- In the eleventh century the Rumanians who were 

VoihySa akin to the Turks entered Europe and settled in Vol- 
Moldavia. hyuia and Moldavia, the latter of which forms the 
northern province of Rumania, where many of them 
retained their pagan forms of religion. In 1220 the 
archbishop of Gran is said to have baptized the king 
of the Kumanians and a large number of his subjects,^ 
but many of them remained as pagans. In 1340 some 
Franciscan missionaries in Szeret in Bukhovina were 
murdered by the inhabitants, whereupon an army of 
Hungarian crusaders marched into the country and 
compelled the inhabitants to accept baptism and to 
acknowledge the authority of the Pope, a bishopric 
being established by Pope Urban V at Szeret in 1370. 
A little later Moldavia was subdued by the Wallachians 
and the Christians became subject to the jurisdiction 
of the Eastern Church. 

The Conversion of the Goths 

Early The first appearance of the Goths ^ concerning which 

theG^ths. any historical details are available was in the lands 

north of the Lower Danube during the third century of 

1 This bishop was despatched in ^ See Annales Spondani, iii. 109. 
556 on a mission in Asia Minor where ^ Most modern writers are of 
he is said to have baptized 70,000 opinion that the Goths are not to be 
pagans. See Destruction du Pagan- identified with the ancient Getse. 
isme dans V Orient by Chastel, p. 289. It seems certain that the point of 

2 John Malalas, Ghron. xviii. departure for their migration south- 


the Christian era. Their appearance on the borders 
of the Roman Empire dates from 238. 

In the reign of Phihp (244-248) they crossed the 
Danube and ravaged Moesia (which included what is 
now the northern part of modern Serbia and Bulgaria) , 
and in 251 the Emperor Decius fell fighting, against 
them. Between 238 and 269 they made no less than 
ten inroads on the Roman Empire. Their first per- Goths in 
manent settlement appears to have been in the Crimea c^i^iea 
about 268. In 274 the Roman legions were withdrawn 2^^- 
from Dacia north of the Danube, and the occupation 
of this territory by the Goths was legally recognized. 
The first Goths to become Christian were settlers in 
the Crimea, who became Catholic as distinguished from 
Arian Christians.^ 

Athanasius, writing in 320 before the Council of 
Nicaea, refers to Christians amongst Goths and 
Sc5rthians.2 A Gothic bishop named Theophilus was 
present at this Council,^ and whilst nothing is certainly 
known of the Christian community which he repre- 
sented, it is probable that he represented a Gothic 
Church on the Cimmerian Bosphorus.^ 

wards was the southern shore of ^ Socrates, ii. 41. Migne, P. Gr. 

the Baltic Sea. They reached the Ixvii. col. 349. 

Euxine early in the third century, * His signature is preceded by the 

travelling up the basin of the Vistula words " de Gothis," and followed 

and down the valley of the Pruth, by " Bosporitanus. " Another MS. 

and settled for a time in what was reads " Provinciae Gothise : Theo- 

afterwards known as Moldavia and philus Gothiae metropohs." Accord- 

Wallachia. They are to be identified ing to the Paris MS. another signatory 

with the Gothones mentioned by was Domnus Bosphorensis or Bosphor- 

Tacitus {Germania, 43 ; Ann. ii. 62). anus. This may have been another 

See also PUny, N. H. iv. 28. Gothic bishop. Bessell suggests that 

1 See Bessell, Ueber das Lehen des Domnus was the representative of 
Ulfllas, p. 115 f. the Orthodox Catholic Christians in 

2 De Incarnatione Verbi, c. 51, 52. the Crimea. See Lehen des U. p. 116. 



[chap. VIII. 

as mis- 

Cyril of Jerusalem about the middle of the fourth 
century refers to martjrs amongst the Goths.^ 
Eutyches, Basil of Caisarea, in a letter addressed to Ascholius 
ar^to'the thanking him for the gift made to the Church of Cappa- 
^gQ^^' docia of relics of Gothic martyrs, after referring to a 
Cappadocian named Eutyches who had been a mission- 
ary amongst the Goths about 360,2 writes, " No one of 
us stands near to Eutyches for worth, for we are so 
far from bringing to gentleness the barbarian by the 
power of the Spirit and the exercise of the gifts received 
from Him, that even those who are gently disposed 
are made fierce by the exceeding number of our sins." 
In the raids made by the Goths along the southern 
shores of the Black Sea the captives whom they carried 
away included several clergy and other Christians, and 
it was by these that a knowledge of the faith was 
first introduced amongst the Goths. Thus Sozomen,^ 
writing about 440, says : " To almost all the barbarians 
the opportunity of having Christian teaching proclaimed 
to them was offered by the war which took place at 
that time between the Romans and the other races, 
under the reign of Gallienus and his successors. For 
when in those reigns an untold multitude of mixed 
races passed over from Thrace, and overran Asia, while 
from different quarters different barbarian peoples 
treated in hke manner the Romans who were their 
neighbours, many priests of Christ were taken prisoners 
and abode with them. And when they healed the 
sick who were there, cleansed those who had evil spirits 
by simply naming the name of Christ and calling on the 

1 Catech. x. 19. ^ Hist. Eccl. ii. 6. Migne, P. Or, 

2 Basil, E'pf.; Migne, P. Gr. xxxii. Ixviii. col. 949. 
col. 636 ; Bessell, p. 113 n. 


Son of God, and further maintained a noble and blame- 
less conversation, and overcame their reproach by their 
virtuous conduct, the barbarians marvelled at the 
men, their life and wonderful works, and acknowledged 
that they themselves would be wise and win the favour 
of God if they were to act after the manner of those who 
thus showed themselves to be better men and like 
them were to serve the right : so getting them to in- 
struct them in their duty, they were taught and baptized 
and subsequently met as a congregation." 

Philostorgius {circ. 358-427), who was a native of oneumias. 
of the districts in Asia Minor ravaged by the Goths, 
states that the captives carried to Europe by the Goths 
included the parents of TJlfilas,^ who was afterwards to 
win for himself the title of Apostle of the Goths.^ Ac- 
cording to Philostorgius his parents came from Sada- 
golthina in the neighbourhood of Parnassus in Cappa- 
docia. Doubts have been thrown upon the statement Doubts 
that Ulfilas was a Cappadocian, and the facts that his ing Ms" 
name is Gothic, and that his pupil Auxentius does not auty.^ 
suggest that he was not of Gothic origin, and that in 
their negotiations with the Romans he was treated by 
the Goths as one of themselves tend to cast doubt 
upon the statement. The question is one which it 
is impossible to settle. Until within recent times we 

^ The name has been variously the latter reminds Damasus that 

spelt as Wulfila, Vulfila, Hulfila, Dionysius, a former bishop of Rome, 

Gulphilas, OixpiWa^, and Oi/p<pi\as. had condoled with the Church in 

The first is perhaps the most correct Cappadocia, in view of the Gothic 

form. It is supposed to mean raids to which it had been exposed, 

" wolf-cub." and had sent envoys to redeem the 

^ See Philostorgius, Hist. Eccl. ii. brethren who were captives. See 

5. In a letter addressed to Damasus, Basil, Ep. 70 ; Migne, P. Or. xxxii. 

bishop of Rome, by Basil the Great, col. 436. 

242 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

were dependent for our knowledge of the life and char- 
acter of Ulfilas upon Greek writers, who regarded him 
as a heretic and could not be rehed upon to give an 
impartial account of his work, even when they possessed 
the necessary information. In 1840 a German scholar, 
Georg Waitz, discovered, written on the margin of a 
MS. in the Paris Library, a Kfe of Ulfilas composed by 
one who had been his disciple, and who shared his 
Life of, rehgious convictions.^ The author was Auxentius, 
elttT an Arian bishop of Durostorum (SiUstria), in Moesia. 
In the first line which is legible, Auxentius refers to 
Ulfilas as one " of most decorous life, truly a confessor 
of Christ, a teacher of piety, and a setter forth of 
truth." 2 

Later on he describes him as " a man whom I am 
not competent to praise according to his merit, yet I 
dare not altogether keep silence ; to whom I most of 
all men am a debtor, inasmuch as he bestowed more 
labour upon me (than upon any other) and received me 
from my earliest years from my parents as his disciple, 
and taught me the Holy Scriptures, and declared (unto 
me) the truth, and by the mercy of God and the grace 
of Christ brought me up both physically and spiritually 
as his own son in the faith." ^ 
The The greater part of the MS. is occupied with an 

ofumks. exposition of the doctrinal position of Ulfilas, and it 
contains hardly more than an outhne of his life, nor 
does it include any reference to his work as a translator 

1 The MS. contained writing by and annotations see Ueher des Lehen 

Hilary and Ambrose. The writing und die Lehre des Ulfilas, pubUshed 

in the margin, which is by Bishop by Waitz in Hanover in 1840. 

Maximin, is, unfortunately, much ^ polio 282. Waitz, p. 10. 

defaced. For a copy of its contents ^ Waitz, p. 20. 


of the Bible into the Gothic language. As showing 
that Ulfilas' reUgious beliefs remained the same 
throughout his Ufe the words, which, according to 
Auxentius, were written by him just before his 
death, have special importance : '^ I, Ulfilas, bishop 
and confessor, have always so beUeved, and in 
the one true faith I make my testament to my 
Lord." 1 

Ulfilas, who was born about 31 1,^ and was brought up his early 
amongst the Goths, was sent in 332 either as an envoy, ^ ^ 
or as a hostage, to Constantinople, probably on the 
occasion of the treaty which was arranged in that year. 
Here he acquired the knowledge of the Latin and Greek 
languages ^ which was to be of so great service to him 
later on. For some time before 341 he worked as a 
reader amongst his fellow-countrymen, either in Con- 
stantinople or amongst those attached to the imperial 
armies in Asia Minor. 

In 341 he was consecrated as bishop of the Christian His conse- 
community in the land of the Goths by Eusebius Tbishop,^ 
(bishop of Nicomedia),^ who was the leader of the ^*^- 

^ " Ego Ulfilas episcopus et con- life see Ulfilas, Apostle of the Goths, 

fessor semper sic credidi et in hac by Professor C. Anderson Scott, 1885, 

fide sola et vera testamentum facio pp. 37-48. This is by far the most 

ad Dominum meum." Waitz, p. 21. valuable book relating to the history 

Socrates {Hist. Eccl. ii. 41) states that of the Gothic Church which has ap- 

at one period Ulfilas had embraced peared in recent times, 

the Nicene faith. He writes : rd jmh ^ Auxentius states that he fre- 

TT/owra ovd^v dierpipero irpbs t7]v KaOdXov quently preached in Greek, Latin, 

€KK\7}(rlav. Bessell suggests that this and Gothic, and left behind " several 

confession of faith and Ufe of Ulfilas treatises and many expositions in 

was prepared by Auxentius in order those three languages." 

to be presented to the Emperor, and ^ Philostorgius, Hist. Ecd. ii. 5. 

was read before him. See Lehen Bessell suggests (p. 10) that his 

des U, pp. 46-48. consecration took place at the Semi- 

2 Waitz suggests 318. For a dis- Arian Synod held at Antioch in 341, 

cussion of the chronology of Ulfilas' over which Eusebius presided. 

244 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

Semi-Arian Party, and at the same time Theophilus 
was consecrated as a deacon.^ 

His work During the next seven years he ministered to the 
Christians in Dacia, and won over many of the pagan 
Goths to a beUef in Christianity. In 348 an impious 
judge [sacrilegus judex), who has, perhaps wrongly, 
been identified with Athanaric, one of the later leaders 
of the Goths, raised so bitter a persecution against the 
Christians that in order to save them from extinction 
Ulfilas applied to the Emperor for permission to cross 
the Danube and settle within the confines of the Roman 

In Moesia. Auxcutius rcf crs thus to the origin of the persecution 
and its results : " By the envy and activity of the 
enemy . . . the persecution of the Christians was 
stirred up, so that Satan, who was eager to work evil, 
against his will worked good, so that those whom he 
wanted to make deniers of the faith and renegades, 
Christ aiding and defending them, became martyrs and 
confessors, with the result that the persecutor was 
confounded, and those who suffered persecution were 
crowned, and he who sought to overcome blushed in 
defeat, and they who were tried rejoiced as victors. 
Whereupon after the glorious martyrdom of many 
servants and handmaidens of Christ, when the perse- 
cution was still threatening, the most saintly man 
Ulfilas, after completing only seven years in his bishop- 
ric, was driven forth, together with a large body of 
confessors, from the barbarian land, and was received 
with honour on Roman soil by the Emperor Constantius 
of blessed memory ; so that as God, by the hand of 

1 Philostorgius, Hist Eccl. ii. 6, and iii. 3 and 12. 


Moses, liberated His people from the power and inso- 
lence of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and caused them 
to pass over the Red Sea and procured them to be His 
servants, so did God by him whom we have mentioned 
set free from the barbarians the confessors of His only- 
begotten Son, and caused them to pass over the Danube 
and to serve Him in the mountains according to the 
manner of His saints." ^ Ulfilas and the Christian Goths 
settled in Moesia at the foot of the Haemus mountains 
in the neighbourhood of Nicopolis,*^ and the Goths soon Pastoral 
developed into a peaceful and pastoral people. Jordanes, Goths. 
the Gothic historian, describes them as '' a very nume- 
rous people . . . but poor and unwarlike, possessing 
nothing in abundance except cattle of different kinds 
and pastures and forests, having but Uttle wheat, 
though their soil is rich in other kinds of produce — for 
the most part they are noiu'ished on milk." ^ As we 
shall see later on, these Goths, whom Jordanes refers 
to as " Gothi minores," do not reappear in subsequent 
history. Some may perhaps have passed into Italy or 
Greece along with Alaric's troops, but the greater part 
became eventually absorbed in the peoples of Moesia. 
Of the work done by Ulfilas amongst these Goths in 
Moesia we have unfortunately almost no information. 
Sozomen, who was prejudiced against him on account 
of his tendency to Arianism, speaks of him as having 
misled the people by his teaching, though he gives him 
credit for having helped them to attain to a higher 
degree of civilization.^ The work of Ulfilas amongst 

^ Waitz, p. 20. ^ Jordanes ; De rebus Gothicis, c. 51. 

^ This Nicopolis occupied the site "^ Sozomen, vi. 37. Migne, P. Gr. 

of the modern Timova in Bulgaria, Ixvii. col. 1405. 
and lay within Moesia Inferior. 



[chap. vin. 

tion by 
aric, 369. 


the Goths north of the Danube was interrupted by his 
enforced flight, but by his homihes and treatises, and 
later on by his Bible translations and through the work 
of his disciples, he continued to exert a considerable 
influence, and it was doubtless due to his efforts and 
inspiration that their number continued steadily to 
increase. The Christians who were in touch with 
Ulfilas were regarded as Arians, but missionary work 
was also carried on by representatives of the ortho- 
dox Catholic party and in the persecution raised by 
Athanaric, king of the Goths, at the end of 369, which 
continued for four years, many suffered death who 
were followers of Athanasius.^ There were also many 
martyrs amongst those who were called Audians. 
Audius, according to Epiphanius, began by being a 
zealous Church reformer in the neighbourhood of the 
Euphrates, and later on having been accused of heresy 
and having been driven from Syria, made his way 
" into the interior of Gothia and instructed many of 
the Goths in Christian doctrine." He had been con- 
secrated as a bishop in Palestine, and he himself con- 
secrated a bishop named Silvanus as his successor in 
order to carry on his work amongst the Goths.^ 

Of the Christians who suffered during this persecu- 

^ St. Augustine, referring to this 
persecution, which, he says, was 
carried out with astonishing cruelty, 
writes : " Cum ibi non essent nisi 
catholici, quorum plurimi martjrrio 
coronati sunt " (De Civitate Dei, xviii. 
52). Theodoret refers to the Goths 
as having been brought up in " the 
teaching of the apostles " (iv. 37). 
See also Ambrose, Expos. Evang. Luc. 
i. c. 37. Ambrose writes : " Gothis 

non imperabat Augustus . . . im- 
perabat Christus." On the other 
hand, Socrates, referring apparently 
to the same persecution, writes : 
" There suffered martyrdom at that 
time barbarians who were of the 
Arian party " (iv. 33). 

2 See Epiphanius adv. Hoereses, 
lib. iii. t. i. c. 14, and id. c. 2. See 
Migne, P. Gr. col. 371, 342. 


tion Sozomen says that some were brought to trial and 
boldly confessed their faith, whilst others were killed 
without having been afforded an opportunity of witness- 
ing for Christ. A wooden idol was placed upon a cart 
and was taken from village to village, and the Christians 
were summoned to come forth and worship and offer 
sacrifices to the idol. When they refused the heathen 
burnt the houses with the Christians inside. One of 
those who suffered, and who belonged apparently to 
the Orthodox party, was St. Saba,i ^j^q had been a st. Saba. 
Christian from his boyhood. When the heathen arrived 
at his village his friends, who desired to protect him 
from their fury, swore that there were no Christians 
in the village, but he suddenly appeared and said 
openly, " Let no one swear for me, for I am a Christian." 
On this occasion he was allowed to go free on the ground 
that he was so poor and obscure that he could do neither 
good nor harm. Later on, however, he was carried 
off together with a priest named Sansala, and having 
refused to eat meat that had been offered to idols he 
was eventually drowned in the river Musaeus. 

In the Greek Calendar reference is made to the 
martyrdom of twenty-six Goths of whom two, Bathusis 
and Verekas, were priests. The commemoration of 
these martyrs is on March 26. 

Yet another who persevered, in spite of threats and St. 

. PP 1 Mini 

persecution, in preaching the faith, and who suffered as 
a martyr, was Nicetas, who is commemorated in the 
Acta Sanctorum for September 15.^ 

1 See Acta Sanctorum, April 12, a tenth-century compiler named 

pp. 88 ff. Metaphrast, and the original account 

* The story of Nicetas given in dates back perhaps to the end of the 

the Acta Sanctorum was taken from fifth century. The story reads thus : 



248 THE CONVEBSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

It is probable that this persecution was in part due 
to the hatred which Athanaric bore to the Roman 
Emperor Valens with whom he had been compelled 
to conclude a disadvantageous peace in 369. From 
this time forward we read of a Gothic chief named 
Frithi- Frithigern, who became the leader of the Goths that 
were Christians or favoured the preaching of Christi- 
anity. When and under what circumstances Frithigern 
became a Christian it is impossible to determine. 
Having made an ineffective attempt to defend himself 
and his followers against Athanaric he crossed the 
Danube and appealed to Valens for help, and with the 
assistance of the Roman soldiers supplied by Valens 
he defeated Athanaric and established himself as an 
independent chief of the Goths north of the Danube. 
Shortly afterwards he applied to Valens to send to the 
Goths preachers from whom they might learn the rule 
of Christian faith.^ 

In or about the year 375 the Huns attacked the 

*' The enemies of God threatened hymns in praise of God, and to believe 

him, but he paid little attention to in Him in his heart. Thus witness - 

them, and went on preaching the ing a good confession to the very 

true religion. At length, breaking end he, with many of his countrymen, 

forth into open violence, they at- was deemed worthy of a crown of 

tacked him while he was in the act of martjnrdom, and gave up his spirit 

preaching the word of truth, dragged into the hands of God " {Acta Sanc- 

him away with force and violence, torum, September 15, p. 41). 
and ordered him to abjure his faith. ^ See Orosius. It is impossible to 

He neither by word nor deed desisted reconcile fully the contradictory 

from making open confession of chronological statements made by 

Christ and honouring Him as God, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, Eutro- 

but mocked and scorned at all their pius, Jordanes, and Orosius. I have 

onslaughts ; so when they had torn followed the scheme of chronology 

his body into pieces — ah ! what mad- suggested by Professor Scott. See 

ness — they then also flung him into Ulfilas, AposUe of the Goths, pp. 

the fire. But the saint, through all 89-103. 
these sufferings, ceased not to sing 


Goths who dwelt north of the Danube, with the result invasion 
that a large section of them under Frithigern obtained kuji8%15. 
permission from Valens in 376 to cross the Danube and 
settle in Roman territory. 

Soon afterwards they quarrelled with the Roman Battle of 
authorities, and in the battle of Adrianople, which took o^ie^zis. 
place in 378, they overthrew the Roman army and 
killed the Emperor Valens. His successor, Theodosius, 
made peace with the Goths, and granted them permis- 
sion to settle along the course of the Danube from 
Pannonia to Moesia. 

Eunapius, a contemporary heathen writer, describes Crossing 
the crossing of the Danube by a party of Goths, who, Danube 
apparently in 380, came to join Frithigern's victorious 38o^°^^^' 
troops, and of whom many were still heathen.^ He 
states that the tribes crossed in great numbers, and that 
each tribe brought its own idols, together with priests 
and priestesses. In order apparently to deceive the 
Roman officials, who might have objected to a multitude 
of heathen entering Roman territory, they dressed up 
some to represent bishops and placed them in front 
and in the midst of those who desired to cross. Others 
were dressed by them as monks, for, wrote Eunapius, 
it '' sufficed if they swept along in dark robes and tunics, 
and both were and were thought to be scoxmdrels," 
for those who awaited them on the southern bank were 
" so sunk in foolishness that they were clearly and 
immovably convinced that they were Christians and 
followed all the rites." ^ 

^ Eunapius, Frag. 46, ed. Niebuhr as Niebuhr supposed, to the crossing 

82. Professor Scott rightly main- in 376. See UlfUas, Apostle of the 

tains that this description appHes to Goths, pp. 100 fif. 

the crossing of the tribes in 380, not, 2 j^ estimating the historical value 

250 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

uifiiasat According to Sozomen and Socrates Ulfilas attended 
Constant a Council of Arian bishops held at Constantinople in 
360.^*^' ^^0, at which a creed resembling that of Rimini was 
drawn up, which recognized the hkeness of the Son to 
the Father " in such a manner as the Holy Scriptures 
declare and teach," but forbade the use of the terms 
'' essence " and '' substance " (ova-La and uTrdo-racrt?) as 
unscriptural and liable to be misunderstood by the 
common people.^ Ulfilas was one of those who sub- 
scribed this creed. 
Was It is difficult to say how far the term Arian can justly 

UllllaS an . i» t -r-rtr»t -WW • 

Arian? DC applied to Ulfilas. His Views were certainly far 
removed from those which many of the followers of 
Arius held. Professor Gwatkin writes concerning him : 
" Ulfilas was only accidentally an Arian : streams rise 
above their source in mission- work, and we cannot judge 
of Ulfilas by Eudoxius and Demophilus any more than 
of Wilfrid and Boniface by the image- worshipping popes 
of the eighth century." ^ jJis views were, in fact, almost 
equally opposed to those of the Arians and of the 
followers of Athanasius. The only authoritative state- 
ment of his belief is the written confession of faith 
which, according to Auxentius, he drew up just before 
his death, and which is, unfortunately, fragmentary 
The Con- and incomplete. It reads : ''I, Ulfilas, bishop and 
Ulfilas.^ confessor, have always thus believed, and in this only 
and true faith I make my testament to my Lord. I 
believe that there is one God the Father, alone, un- 
begotten and invisible, and I believe in His only- 

of this description it is necessary to ^ Sozomen, vi. 37. Socrates, ii. 

bear in mind that the writer was a 41. 

pagan, who was hostile to the teach- ^ Studies of Arianism, 1900, by 

ing of Christianity. H. M. Gwatkin, p. 27 n. 


begotten Son our Lord and God the Framer (opifex) and 
Maker of the whole creation, who has none Uke unto 
Him— therefore there is one God of all ^ . . . and 
I beUeve in one Holy Spirit, an enlightening and sanc- 
tifying power . . . neither God nor Lord, but the 
Minister of Christ." ^ 

Whatever views XJlfilas held they were far from being His de- 
vague or indistinct, and he was prepared to denounce ^^^ of 
with vigour all whom he regarded as heretical. Thus *'^^^*'^^- 
Auxentius writes : "In his preaching or expounding 
he maintained that all heretics were not Christians but 
anti-Christs, not pious but impious, not religious but 
irreligious, not reverent but rash, not in hope but 
without hope, not worshippers of God but without 
God, not doctors but seducers, not preachers but pre- 
varicators." " But," he continues, " as a true emulator 
of the Apostles and imitator of the martyrs, having made 
himself an enemy of the heretics, he repelled their 
evil doctrine and built up a people of God, while he 
put to flight the grievous wolves and dogs, the workers 
of evil, and through the grace of Christ kept his flock 
as a good shepherd with all prudence and diligence." ^ 

The work by means of which Ulfilas exerted the widest His trans- 
and most enduring influence, and which distinguished the Bible, 
him from all his missionary predecessors, was his trans- 
lation of the Bible into the Gothic language. The im- 
portance and significance of this work of translation 
has been well described by Professor Max Miiller, who 
writes : " Ulfilas must have been a man of extra- 

1 The MS., according to Waitz, 2 ggg Waitz, p. 21. 

continues " qui et de nostris est ^ The list of those whom he speci- 

Deus," or, according to Bessell, ally denounced includes Homoousians 

" qui et Dei nostri est Deus." and Homoiousians. See Waitz, p. 19. 

252 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

ordinary power to conceive, for the first time, the idea 
of translating the Bible into the vulgar language of 
his people. At his time there existed in Europe but 
two languages which a Christian bishop would have 
thought himself justified in employing, Greek and Latin. 
All other languages were still considered as barbarous. 
It required a prophetic insight and a faith in the destinies 
of those half-savage tribes, and a conviction also of the 
utter effeteness of the Roman and Byzantine Empires, 
before a bishop could have brought himself to trans- 
late the Bible into the vulgar dialect of his barbarous 
countrymen." ^ Translations of the Bible, or of parts 
of the Bible, had previously been made into Syrian 
and Egyptian dialects, but these were already literary 
languages. Ulfilas was the first to translate the Bible 
into a language in which no literature of any kind 
existed at the time. According to Philostorgius and 
other Greek writers, Ulfilas not only translated the 
The Bible into Gothic but invented the characters in which 

alphabet, the translation was written. Thus, Philostorgius writes : 
'' Besides all the other ways in which he ministered to 
his people he also invented for them letters of their 
own and translated into their own tongue the whole of 
the Scriptures except indeed the (four) Books of the 
Kings." ^ His reason for omitting these was his fear 
lest the warlike propensities of his fellow-countrymen 
should be encouraged by reading of wars which had 
received divine sanction. The Gothic Bible is referred 

^ Lectures on the Science of Lan- 15, p. 41. The statement that 

guage, p. 175. Ulfilas invented the alphabet of 

2 Hist. Eccl. ii. 3. See also Socrates, which he made use has been con- 

iv. 33 ; Sozomen, vi. 37, and the troverted by Grimm and others. See 

Acta Nicetse in Acta SS., September Waitz, p. 52. 


to by several writers in the fifth century, but after this 
it practically disappeared for a thousand years.^ At Disap- 
the end of the fifteenth, or beginning of the sixteenth, IT^^^ 
century a Gothic MS. containing the greater part of gP^J'j*' 
the Gospels was found at Werden, near Cologne, and 
was eventually presented to the University of Upsala, 
where it is now preserved. In 1736 part of the Epistle Re-dis- 
to the Romans was discovered at Wolfenbiittel, and of frag- 
in 1817 Cardinal Mai discovered at Bobbio further '^^''^'• 
portions of the New Testament and a few verses of 
Nehemiah and Esdras. The Bobbio MSS. appear to 
date from the sixth century, and there is every reason 
to suppose that they and the MS. found at Werden 
represent the work of Ulfilas. These translations 
furnish practically the only specimens of the Gothic 
language which exist,^ and are therefore of inestimable 
value from a philological standpoint. In the Acta 
Nicetae it is stated that Ulfilas translated from the 
Greek, but the version reveals also the influence of character 
some of the Latin MSS. Possibly changes in accord- 
ance with Latin readings were introduced into his 
version after the Goths had left Moesia and had travelled 
west. The version shows few, if any, traces of Arian 

1 In 842 Strabo, abbot of Reiche- ment and New Testament in the same 
nan, wrote : " Studiosi ilUus gentis language and same characters as 
divinos libros in suse locutionis pro- those of Ulfilas {Isagog. iii. 347). 
prietatem transtulerunt, quorum 2 Reccared (in Spain) was the first 
adhuc monumenta apud nonnuUos Gothic prince to become a Catholic 
exstant." The Gothic Bible was (586). After doing so he collected 
used by the Vandals, whose language and burned all the Gothic books 
closely resembled Gothic. See Das which he could get hold of. See 
dlteste germanische Christentum, H. Fredegar, Chronicon, c. viii., Mon, 
von Schubert, p. 15. The Italian Germ. 8,R.M. ii. 125 : " Omnes Ubros 
scholar, Joseph ScaUger (1540-1609), Arianos precepit ut sibi presententur, 
states that the Pericopean Tartars quos in una domo conlocatos in- 
possessed copies of the Old Testa- cendio concremare jussit." 

of the 

254 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

beliefs on the part of the translator. After pointing 
out that sin was regarded by the Goths as the trans- 
gression of a law which exposed the transgressor to 
the payment of a penalty. Professor Scott writes : 
" Parallel with the notion of sin as a crime and redemp- 
tion as the payment of the penalty it had entailed was 
the conviction, deep-rooted in Teutonic thought and 
language, that sin was a disease and the Redeemer a 
Healer. This also might be abundantly illustrated 
from the Gothic version. The Greek acoleiv (to save) 
with all its forms and derivatives is represented by the 
Gothic nasjan and its derivatives. Salvation was 
regarded as ' healing ' : above all the Saviour was the 
Nasjands — ^the Healer." ^ 
A com- In addition to the portions of the Gothic Bible which 

^^st?^"^ still exist, a fragment of a commentary on the Gospel of 
'^^^^^ St. John has been preserved which is written in the same 
language as that of the Bible. This is a fragment of 
the many treatises which, according to Auxentius, Ulfilas 
composed for the benefit of the Gothic Christians. 
Ulfilas' To return once more to the story of Ulfilas' mission- 

mi^sion- ^^^ labours, Auxentius sums up, all too briefly, his 
labours. g^^(.Q^^|- ^i i^ig master's work thus : " Preaching and 
giving thanks with love to God the Father through 
Christ he flourished gloriously for forty years in his 
bishopric, and with apostolic grace he preached in the 
Greek and Latin and Gothic languages without inter- 

1 Thus the words in Rom. ix. 5, ^ecj by the Gothic galeiko gutha, 

" Christ who is over all God blessed which is equivalent to " Hke to God." 

for ever," are rendered quite liter- He might, however, have used here 

ally. In his rendering of Philippians the Gothic word ibna — i.e. "equal" 

ii. 6, "He counted it not a prize to or "even." 

be on an equaUty with God," he 2 p, 136. 
translates the expression r6 eTvai laa 


mission in the one only Church of Christ, for one is 
the Church of the hving God, the pillar and ground of 
the truth, and he used to assert and contend that one 
is the flock of Christ our Lord and God, one husban- 
dry, one building, one virgin, one spouse, one kingdom, 
one vineyard, one house, one temple, one assembly 
(conventus) of Christians, all other meetings being not 
churches of God but synagogues of Satan." ^ 

In 381, when he was now seventy years of age, Ulfilas His death 
was summoned by the Emperor Theodosius to attend gtanti^ 
a council which was to be held at Constantinople. Itnopie,38i. 
appears that a dispute had arisen amongst the Arians 
in Constantinople, and it was hoped that Ulfilas might 
be able to mediate. His long-continued labours had 
already weakened his health, and on reaching Con- 
stantinople he died, before he had attempted to fulfil 
the object for which he had been summoned. His 
disciple writes : " It behoves us to consider the merit 
of the man who by the guidance of the Lord came to 
die at Constantinople, nay, rather at Christianople, so 
that the holy and stainless priest of Christ might, con- 
formably to his merits, be marvellously and splendidly 
honoured by saints and fellow-priests, the worthy man 
in worthy fashion by worthy men, and at the hands of 
so great a multitude of Christians." ^ 

The figure of Ulfilas, in so far as we can discern it The work 
through the mists of time and as it is portrayed in the pifshTd by 
writings of his prejudiced opponents, is that of a man ^^1^^. 
who rose far above the atmosphere of rehgious con- 
troversy which distinguished his age, and who devoted 
his life to active toil, and his great literary powers to 

1 Waitz, p. 19. 2 Auxentius, see Waitz, p. 19. 

256 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

the provision of a version of the Sacred Scriptures 
which, whilst it has outlasted the political existence 
of his race, has provided an example and furnished a 
standard for all succeeding generations. Without 
undervaluing the work of his contemporary, St. Martin 
of Tours, we may say that he was the greatest mission- 
ary who had laboured in Europe subsequent to the 
death of St. Paul. Selenas, who had been the amanu- 
ensis of Ulfilas, succeeded him as bishop, and for the 
next fifteen years the Goths lived a peaceful and settled 
life, whilst the followers and pupils of Ulfilas carried 
on his work, the fruits of which were seen in the sub- 
sequent development of the national character to 
which later historians were to bear warm testimony .^ 
Thus, Salvian, a CathoHc priest of Marseilles, writing 
in the fifth century, speaks with approval of the chastity 
of the Arian Goths, of their piety according to their 
own creed, and their tolerance towards the Catholics 
who were under their rule. He even ventures to ex- 
press a hope that such good people may be saved 
notwithstanding their heretical opinions.^ 
Testi- Again, Jerome, writing from Palestine in 403, in 

^rome^.^ reply to a letter received from two Goths, who had 
written to consult him in regard to the meaning of a 
verse in the Psalms, says : " Who would have beheved 
that the barbarian tongue of the Goths would inquire 
respecting the pure sense of the Hebrew original ? " 
In another letter. he spoke of the red and yellow haired 
Goths carrying the church about with them in tents, 
and suggests that for this reason they battled with 

1 See Scott, p. 149. 

2 De gubernatione Dei, vii. 9, 11, 15. Migne, P. L. liii. 


equal fortune against the Romans because they trusted 
in the same reUgion.^ 

On the death of the Emperor Theodosius in 395 the Aiaric 
Goths ceased to own allegiance to the Empire and ^^e^G^oths, 
chose Aiaric as their king. The greater part of those ^^^• 
settled in Moesia probably followed Aiaric in some of 
his many campaigns, and of those who remained some 
were induced by the missionaries sent out by Chrysostom 
to join the Catholic Church.^ We read that in a 
church set apart for the use of the Goths in Constanti- 
nople Chrysostom himself frequently preached to them 
by means of an interpreter. This teaching was 
eventually interrupted by an appalling outbreak of 
religious fanaticism on the part of the inhabitants of 
Constantinople. Gainas, a Goth and an officer in the 
Imperial army, having persuaded the Emperor to 
approve his suggestion that one of the churches in the 
city should be given up for the use of the Arian Goths, 
the CathoUc Christians rose and murdered 7000 of Massacre 
the "barbarians" and those who took refuge in onchiCon-^ 
of the churches were biu-nt to death, the church having ^opie^" 
been set on fire by the populace.^ In response to a 
request from the " king of Gothia," who apparently 
lived in the Crimea, to send a bishop to the Church 
in his country, Chrysostom, before his banishment 
from Constantinople, had sent Unila.^ Three years Bishop 
later he heard in his banishment of the death of Unila 
and wrote to try to prevent a successor being conse- 

^ £Jpp. 98 and 107 : " Rutilus et ^ Socrates, vi. 6 ; Sozomen, viii. 4, 

flavus exercitus ecclesiarum circum- and Theodoret, v. 33. 

fert tentorial' * Chrysostom, Ep, ad Olympiadem, 

2 See Theodoret, Hist. Ecd. v. 28, xiv. 1. 


258 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

crated by his Arian successor at Constantinople, the 
Church to which Unila was sent being CathoKc. Later 
on the Emperor Justinian sent the Goths a bishop, 
and they were thenceforth connected with the Greek 

Goths in Church.^ The Goths who overran Italy, Spain, and 

Italy, other countries were accompanied by Christian bishops, 
one of whom Sigesarius, after the capture of Rome, 
baptized the Emperor Attalus,^ whilst another named 
Maximin,^ was present with the Gothic troops at 
Carthage in 427. 

in Gaul, When the Goths invaded Gaul they estabhshed an 
extensive and well-organized Church to which Gregory 
of Tours frequently refers.* Nor did they neglect to 
act as missionaries amongst the pagans. Thus, 
Sidonius Apollinaris (d. 492) says that he saw one 
Modoharius " brandishing darts of heresy " whilst 
working as an Arian missionary amongst the Bur- 
gundians.^ With the reception into the Catholic 

andin Church of Rcccarcd, the king of the Goths in Spain 
(586), the last branch of the Gothic Church came to 
an end, and the influence of the Goths as a factor in 
European history ceased to exist. 

We have already quoted testimonies to the good 
qualities which their bitterest foes were constrained 
to attribute to the Gothic soldiers, and which they 
recognized as the fruits of their religious belief. We 
would conclude this brief sketch of the conversion of 

1 Procopius, B. G. iv. 4, 5. The ^ Possid. Vita August, c. 17 ; 
bishop's seat was at Kapha, and a Migne, P. L. xxxii. 48. 
bishop entitled 6 ToTdlai appears in * Hist Franc, v. 8 ; De gloria 
the Acts of the Byzantine Synod as Confess, c. 48, etc. 
late as the eighteenth century. ^ Ep. vii. 6. 

2 Sozomen, ix. 8. 



the Goths by quoting the words of St. Augustine, Testi- 
written with reference to the conduct of the Goths AugJs^ 
on the occasion of the capture of Rome by Alaric. *^^®* 
After stating that the churches of St. Peter and St. 
Paul and the chapels of the martyrs were left un- 
touched and that the Uves of all who sheltered therein 
were preserved, he writes : " He who does not see 
that the thanks for this are due to the name of Christ 
and to the Christian times is blind : he who does see 
it, and praises not God, knows no gratitude, whilst he 
who resists the man who (on this account) offers praise 
is bereft of reason." ^ 


Before the close of the seventh century the Bui- Buiga- 
garians, who had originally come from central Asia, [hT^'"^ 
had occupied the greater part of Macedonia and^^^!^*^ 

^ o JT century. 

Epirus. Having conquered the Slavonic inhabitants 
of these districts they adopted their language and 
customs and eventually by intermarriage became 
identified with them. Christianity was introduced introduc- 
amongst them in 813 when, in the course of a raidchristl 
upon territory belonging to the Roman empire, they ^^^^^'^^^^ 
captured Adrianople and carried captive a number 
of Christians, including a bishop. The bishop and 
many of his fellow-captives eventually died a martyr's 
death. After the lapse of nearly fifty years a monk 
named Constantine Cypharas, who had been carried cypharas. 
captive by the Bulgarians, endeavoured to preach 

^ " Hoc Christi nomini, hoc Christi- anti reluctatur, insanus est. De 

ano tempori tribuendum quisquis civitate Deiy lib. i. c. 7 ; Migne, P. L. 

non videt, caecus ; quisquis videt xli. col. 20. See also Orosius, vii. 

nee laudat, ingratus ; quisquis laud- 39. 

260 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

to them the Christian faith.^ In 861 a sister of the 

Bulgarian prince Bogoris, who had apparently been 

held as a captive at Constantinople for several years, 

and who had been baptized there as a Christian, was 

restored to her own country, Cypharas being at the 

same time released and sent back to Constantinople. 

She endeavoured, though at first without success, to 

impart to her brother her new faith, but eventually 

Bogoris. in a time of severe famine Bogoris was induced to 

solicit aid from the God of the Christians and, the 

famine having come to an end, he showed a disposition 

to listen to the entreaties of his sister that he should 

accept the Christian faith. According to a story, 

which rests however upon very slender evidence, the 

sister of Bogoris had sent for a skilful artist named 

Methodius, who has sometimes been identified with 

the well-known missionary to the Moravians,^ in order 

that he might paint some scenes to adorn the walls 

of Bogoris' palace. Cedrenus relates that Methodius, 

instead of painting hunting scenes on the walls of the 

Methodius palacc as Bogoris had requested, produced a picture 

picTure^of representing the final Judgment, the effect of which 

Jud^^^ was so great that Bogoris expressed a desire to receive 

ment. Christian instruction. 

Baptism He was baptized in 863 or 864 by the name Michael, 

ogoris. ^j^^ Emperor Michael (though not present on the 

occasion) being his godfather.^ After his baptism 

^ See Cedreni, Annates, p. 443. connected with poUtical motives, as, 

2 See below, p. 293. according to the Greek writers, a 

^ His baptism took place at mid- tract of land afterwards called 

night as it was feared that it would Zagora, south of the Balkan range, 

excite the forcible opposition of the was given to the Bulgarians as a 

Bulgarians. It would appear that baptismal donation, 
the baptism of Bogoris was not un- 


he received a long letter from Photius the Patriarch Letter 
of Constantinople which was largely concerned with ph^ius. 
minutiae of theological controversy, and in which he 
exhorted him to take measm'es for the conversion of 
his people. Although Photius had advised him to 
forgo the use of force in promoting the conversion of 
his people, he proceeded to compel them to follow his Forcible 
example, with the result that an insurrection occurred, lion^^' 
which he suppressed with great cruelty, all the rebellious 
nobles and their famihes being massacred. Photius 
had not apparently troubled to send any missionaries 
to assist Bogoris in the evangelization of the country, 
and several unauthorized and uneducated Greeks Unauthor- 
began to disseminate various superstitions andsionaries. 
heresies. One who pretended to be a priest baptized 
many, but when his followers discovered that he had 
deceived them they cut off his nose and ears and ex- 
pelled him from their country .^ There arrived also 
Roman and Armenian missionaries who spoke against 
the teachings of the Greeks, and commended the 
doctrines of their own Churches. Moved, partly by the 
refusal of the Greek Patriarch to consecrate a bishop 
for Bulgaria and partly by political reasons, Bogoris Bogoris 
now appKed for help (865) to Pope Nicholas I and to^^^f'^^ 
the Emperor Louis II of Germany. The Pope rephed ^i^^oias. 
by sending two Italian bishops; Paul and Formosus, 
who took with them a detailed reply to 106 questions 
that Bogoris had asked, relating to the conduct of 
converts to the Christian f aith.^ The Pope's letter The ^ 
compares favourably with the letter which had heenfeuer^ 

^ Letter of Nicolaus. See Migne, F , L. cxix. col. 978 S. ; Harduin, 
P. Gr, iii. col 39, 46 and 98. Concil. v. p. 757 ; also Hefele, Coun- 

2 See letter of Nicholas I, Migne, cils, iv. 437-441. 


received from Photius and displays an intelligent 
appreciation of the needs and difficulties of those who 
were striving to abandon heathen customs and to 
live a Christian life. 

The questions asked by Bogoris and the answers 
given by the Pope are of considerable interest from a 
missionary standpoint and throw light upon the con- 
ditions attaching to the work of the early missionaries 
both in Bulgaria and elsewhere. 

The Pope rebukes Bogoris for the cruelty with which 
he had suppressed the rebellion that had followed 
his own baptism, and specially for his massacre of 
women and children. He urges that those who were 
unwilling to abandon idolatry should be reasoned 
with and exhorted rather than coerced, inasmuch as 
"nothing can be good which is not the outcome of 
free action." ^ God asks of man a voluntary obedience ; 
had He chosen to use force none could have resisted 
His will : intercourse with those who refused to be- 
come Christians must be avoided, but they must be 
left to God's judgment: in the case of those who 
had become Christians and had fallen back into 
idolatry, force should be employed to reconvert them, 
as their case is similar to that of blasphemers who, 
according to the laws contained in the Old Testament, 
were to be punished with death.^ 

The Pope defended the Greek whose nose and 
ears the Bulgarians had cut off on the ground that 
such pious deception was lawful when the object 

1 He writes, "porro illis violentia ut P. L. cxix. col. 995, see also col. 1014, 

credant nuUatenus inferenda est, "non esse inferendam pagano vio- 

nam omne quod ex voto non est lentiam ut Christianus fiat docuimus. " 

bonum esse non potest." Migne, ^ i^j, col. 990. 


in view was the conversion of heathen to the true 

In reply to a question whether a number of baptisms Baptism 
which had been administered by a Jew, whose ownteredbv 
conversion to Christianity was doubtful, were valid ^®^^* 
the Pope urges their validity on the ground that they 
had been administered in the name of the Trinity. 

In answer to the question asked him concerning the 
wearing of the cross he explained that, as Christ had 
commanded that men should bear the cross in their The wear- 
hearts, they should also wear it on their bodies in cross. 
order that they may be constantly reminded of their 
duty to bear it in their hearts. The wearing of the 
cross should denote mortification of the flesh and com- 
passion towards others. 

In answer to a question concerning the obligation Absten- 
to rest from labour on festival days he replied that work on 
men were bound to rest from labour on festival days^^^^^J^^ 
in order that they might have leisure to attend Church, 
to occupy themselves with prayer, with spiritual songs 
and the divine word, to imitate the example of the 
saints and to distribute alms among the poor, but that if 
a man neglected these things and squandered away in 
idle amusements the time taken from lawful occupa- 
tions, he would do better to labour on such days with 
his own hands, that he might have something to give 
to the needy and suffering. 

In answer to a question what they were to do in 
time of war if the enemy attacked them while they 
were saying their prayers in church, he replied that 

^ He further maintained that the tended priest was valid. Migne, P. L. 
baptism administered by the pre- cxix. col. 986. 

264 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

devotions thus begun might be finished in any other 
place, for Christians were not confined to any parti- 
cular place of prayer, as the Jews in olden time 
were to Jerusalem.^ 
SeM- All wars and contentions, he says, come from the 

Christian^ temptations of the great adversary : hence they ought, 
if possible, to be avoided, not only in times of fasting 
but always. But in cases of necessity when men 
are called upon to prepare for war in defence of their 
country or its laws, it would be improper to lay aside 
these preparations, for to do so would be tempting 
God by neglecting to do all that lies in our power for 
our own good and that of others, or for preventing 
any injury which might be done to religion. 

After explaining to the Bulgarians that by their 
baptismal vow they had renounced all acts of divina- 
tion and sorcery and the superstitious observance of 
days and hours, to which they had formerly been ac- 
customed to resort when about to engage in war, he 
Prepara- wrftcs that the preparation for fighting a battle on 
battle. the side of religion should consist in repairing to Church, 
offering up prayer, celebrating the mass, confessing 
sins, forgiving those who had injured them, opening 
the prisons and setting the prisoners free, restoring 
freedom to the slaves, especially to the sick and the 
feeble, and distributing alms to the needy .^ 
The treat- In auswcr to the question what ought to be done to 
emigrants, a freeman who tried to leave his country, the Pope 
replied that he should be treated in accordance with 
the laws of the country, but he added that many holy 
men, as Abraham, had left their native country without 

1 Migne, P. L. cxix. coL 1007. 2 i^, col. 993. 


being considered, for this reason alone, to have done 
an5rthing criminal. 

In reply to a question whether the Bulgarian custom Social 
that the king should allow no person to eat with him ^^^ ^^^' 
ought to be observed, the Pope replied that in olden 
times kings, many of whom were deemed worthy of 
holding communion with the saints, ate with their 
friends, nay even with their servants. The King of 
kings and Lord of lords, the Saviour, ate not only with 
His servants and friends the apostles, but also with 
publicans and sinners.^ 

The answer to one question, viz. that relating to the Prayers 
lawfulness of praying for the salvation of their fore- heathen 
fathers, grates harshly upon our ears. It was similar ^^^^"^^^ 
to that given by Wulfram to the Frisian king Radbod.^ forbidden. 
The Pope quotes the reference by St. John (1 Jn. v. 16) 
to the " sin unto death " and says that prayer in 
such a case could not be allowed.^ In conclusion 
he promised to send them a bishop and later on per- 
haps a patriarch. 

After the return of the two bishops whom Pope Rival 
Nicholas had sent the Bulgarians still hesitated whether Photiur^ 
to ally themselves with Constantinople or with Rome, p^^^^® 
The Patriarch Photius claimed their allegiance on 
the ground that he had baptized Bogoris, whilst the 
Pope claimed it on the ground that their country had 
always been within the Hmits of the Roman empire. 
In a circular letter addressed to the patriarchs of 
Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch, Photius denounced 
the intrusion of the Pope. In an earlier letter ad- 

1 Migne, P. L. cxix. coL 996. vestris qui infideles mortui sunt 

2 See p. 339. propter peccatum incredulitatis non 

3 Id. col. 1011, "pro parentibus licet." 

2r36 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. viii. 

dressed to the bishops of the East in 869 Photius 
wrote : " Moreover the barbarous race of Bulgarians, 
which was hostile to Christ, is become so gentle and 
mindful of God that, abandoning their ancestral and 
devilish orgies and putting off the deceit of Hellenic 
superstition, contrary to all expectation they have 
been engrafted into the faith of Christians." ^ At 
length, and notwithstanding the warnings of Pope 
John VIII,^ the Bulgarians finally threw in their lot 
Reception with the Greek Church and a Greek archbishop and 
bishops. Greek bishops were received and set over the Bulgarian 
Church,^ the place of honour next after the Greek 
patriarch being henceforth conceded to the arch- 
bishop of Bulgaria. 

After the death of Methodius some of his fellow- 
missionaries were forced to leave Moravia and, having 
been welcomed by Bogoris (886), they acted as mis- 
sionaries to the Bulgarians in Western Macedonia. 
Clement of One of thcsc, Clement, a native of Achrida (now Och- 
rida) , founded a monastery in that city which is on the 
confines of Western Macedonia and Albania. Here he 
gathered round him a number of young men whom 
he trained as teachers. He also composed simple 
homilies in the Bulgarian language for their use. 

Before his death in 916 he became bishop of Belit^a, 
this being the first see established in this district. A 
monastery at the southern end of the lake of Ochrida 
is called after one of his fellow-missionaries St. 

^ Epy. Photii, xiii. Migne, P. Gr. ^ See Geschichte der Bulgaren^ 

cii. col. 724. Jirecek, p. 157. The first Greek 

2 See Epistola ad Michodem (878). bishop was named Joseph. 
Migne, P. L. cxxvi. col. 758. 


During the reign of Simeon (893-927) the younger Later his- 
son of Bogoris, Christianity was estabUshed as the reh- su^aria. 
gion of the people. After his death the Russians and 
Petchenegs invaded the country. In 1019 the Bul- 
garians acknowledged the supremacy of the Greek 
Emperor BasiKus. In the twelfth century a successful 
insurrection resulted in the formation of a Bulgaro- 
Wallachian kingdom which maintained itself against 
attacks from Hungarians on the one side and Byzan- 
tines on the other and which eventually included 
Macedonia and Thrace. It was overrun by the 
Tartars, and was at length subjugated by Turkey 
after the battle of Kossovo in 1389. 

In 923 the Greek Emperor agreed to acknowledge a patri- 
as a patriarch the archbishop of Bulgaria : in* 972 Bulgaria, 
the patriarchal dignity was abolished but was soon ^^^' 
afterwards revived : in 1018 it was again abolished. 
In 1767 the last independent archbishop of Bulgaria 
was forced by the Turks to resign and the see was 
incorporated in the patriarchate of Constantinople. 
In 1870 a separate exarchate was recognized by the 



Traditions The tradition that St. James (lago) was the first to 
s^t^Ja^meJ! preach the Gospel in Spain, although universally ac- 
cepted in Spain to-day and definitely endorsed by a 
decree of Pope Leo XIII in 1884, rests on no historical 
basis and is quite untenable. The tradition does not 
in fact date back earlier than the seventh century .^ A 
later legend asserts that his body was transported to 
Spain immediately after his martyrdom in Palestine, 
and one still later declares that his bones were trans- 
ported to Spain in the seventh or eighth century. 
Pope Clement VIII altered the statement in the Roman 
Breviary of 1568 that James " travelled through Spain 
and there preached the gospel " into ''it is the tradi- 
tion of the churches of that province that he went to 
Spain and there made some converts to the faith " 
(ed. 1603), but the Spanish Church and king having 
protested, the original assertion was restored, with an 
additional statement to the effect that of the converts 
made by St. James seven were ordained bishops by 
St. Peter and were the first to be sent to Spain.^ There 

^ It first appears in a treatise en- Apostle James the Great came to 

titled " De ortu et obitu patrum," Spain to preach the Faith contra - 

assigned to Isidore bishop of Seville, diets equally the Bible and history, 

600-36. but since the tenth century this has 

2 Dr Dollinger in a lecture given been in Spain an unassailable fact ; 

at Munich in 1884 said, " That the he is the patron saint of the land to 

SPAIN 269 

is no good reason to doubt that St. Paul fulfilled his st. Paul 
expressed intention of preaching the Gospel in Spaing '"^ ^^^'"* 
St. Clement of Rome, writing about thirty years 
after the death of St. Paul, says that he " preached in 
the East and the West . . . having taught righteous- 
ness unto the whole world and having reached the 
farthest bounds of the West."^ The Muratorian 
Fragment {circ. 170) refers to "the journey of Paul 
from the city to Spain." The last resistance of Spanish 
peoples to Roman arms was overcome in b.c. 25, and 
by the time that St. Paul would have reached Spain 
Roman civiUsation had been introduced and had to a Roman 
large extent spread throughout the country. Thus'S" 
Mommsen writes, ''When Augustus died, the Roman ^p^^- 
language and Roman customs predominated in 
Andalusia, Granada, Murcia, Valencia, Catalonia and 
Aragon, and a large proportion of these results is to 
be attributed to a Romanizing and not to a colonizing 
process." ^ It does not appear that St. Paul founded 
any churches in Spain which survived, and it is pro- 
bable that the earhest Christian communities wereEarUest 
the result of communications between Spain and the co^^''*'^'' 
Christians of Lyons and Vienne. Irenaeus^ bishop of*'®^ 
Lyons (178-202) refers to the existence of a church in 
Spain. Tertullian^ {circ. 200) declares that " aU the 
confines of Spain have yielded to Christ," and Arnobius « 

this day ; every Spaniard maintains universally understood as applying 

it in the face of the world." See to Spain. 

The Church in Spain, by F. Meyrick, 3 j^^i of Rome, Eng. ed., i. 63. 

P- 3. 4 i. 10, 2. 

1 Rom. XV. 24-28 ; 2 Ck>r. i. 17. ^ Adv. Jvdceos, vii. See also Adv. 

2 Ep. ad Cor. i. 5. The expression Oentes, i. 16. 
rb HpfjLa rijs SOaecos at the time ^ i. 16. 
when Clement wrote would have been 

' communi- 


{circ. 306) speaks of " innumerable " Christians in 
Spain. Unfortunately, no accounts have been pre- 
served which throw any light upon the activities of 
the earliest missionaries, or upon the methods of 
evangelization which they adopted.^ There is reason 
to fear that their work was more superficial than was 
the case in any other country in Europe. When at 
last the Spanish Church emerges into daylight, the first 
account that has been preserved concerns a dispute 
which had arisen between four bishops and which 
was referred for settlement to Stephen bishop of Rome 
and Cyprian bishop of Carthage. Two bishops named 
BasiUdes Basilidcs and Martial, whose sees were Leon-Astorga 
Martial, and Mcrida, had failed to act as confessors during an 
outbreak of persecution in 254 and had delivered to 
the Roman magistrate a certificate {libellus) which 
implied that they had renounced their Christianity 
and had performed pagan rites. For this offence and 
for other alleged crimes they had been deposed and 
successors had been appointed. They had, however, 
refused to give way to their successors. Stephen 
supported the cause of the deposed bishops but 
Judgment Cyprian,^ whose judgment was accepted by the 
Cyprian. Spanish Church, confirmed their deposition and 
secured the installation of their successors. From 
Cyprian's letter we gather that numerous Christian 
communities existed in Spain and that their 
bishops had already formed a synod of their own. 
We gather also that the character of the bishops 

^ Leclercq refers to ** la penurie, miers siecles de notre ere," p. 102. 
presque incroyable, de textes con- ^ ^p^ Ixviii. (a.d. 258). See Migne, 

cemant le Christianisme dans la P. L. iii. coL 1019. 
peninsule pendant les quatres pre- 

SPAIN 271 

was more secular than was the case in Africa or 

In the course of the next fifty years several Spanish Early 
Christians suffered martyrdom during the persecutions nSurt^s. 
of Valerian, 256-260, and Diocletian, 303-4. It is, 
however, impossible to distinguish between the his- 
torical and apocryphal accounts of their martyrdoms. 
Our most trustworthy authority is Bishop Prudentius Writings 
(born 348) ^ whose book Peristephanon Liber dentius. 
consists of fourteen poems written in honour of these 
martyrs. The best known of them is Bishop Fructuosus Fructu- 
of Tarragona,^ who probably suffered in the persecu- ^''"^' 
tion of Valerian in 259. A long and detailed account of 
his sufferings and martyrdom is given in the Acta S. 
Fructuosi.^ The bishop, who was loved and respected 
aUke by the Christians and the heathen, was brought 
before the consul ^milian, together with two priests 
Augurias and Eulogius, and was charged with re- 
fusing to worship the Emperors, and when he and his 
companions persisted in this refusal they were burnt 
aUve in the amphitheatre. Prudentius states that 
thirty Spanish martyrs suffered death during the Thirty 
persecution of Diocletian. Of these Zaragoza supplied ""^'^^^''^ 
nineteen, Cordova five, Alcala two, Gerona, Barcelona, 
Saguntum and Merida each one. In many instances 
the martyrs courted suffering and did everything in 
their power to provoke their persecutors to put them 
to death. Thus we read that Eulalia, a girl of thirteen, 

^ Prudentius was a barrister at ^ Hamack regards his martjrrdom 

Rome, and returning to Spain, his as authentic. 

native land, he devoted himseK to * See Ruinart's Acta primorum 

writing religious poetry. See Migne, Martyrum sincera et selecta, Amster- 

P. L. Ixxxvi. coL 1152. dam, 1713, pp. 218-222. 


spat in the praetor's eyes ^ and defied him to do his 
St. Vin- Vincent of Zaragoza, who was put to death at 
Zaragoza. Saguntum, Said to the praetor who was examining 
him, " The hghtning shall burn thy poisonous tongue 
and thou shalt see the hot cinders of Gomorrah and 
the ashes of Sodom shall witness thy everlasting burn- 
ing, thou serpent whom the smoke of sulphur, and 
bitumen and pitch shall encircle in hell fire." ^ He 
is the most famous martjn: whom Spain has produced, 
and the story of his martyrdom, interspersed with 
many miraculous occurrences, has spread far and 
wide.^ St. Augustine in one of his sermons, says, 
" What country, what province, to which the Roman 
Empire and the Christian name has been extended, 
does not now rejoice to celebrate the festival of St. 
Vincent ? " ^ 
Council of Although little information relating to actual mis- 
sionary work has been preserved, we possess the records 
of an early Church Council {circ. 306)^ which throw 
much light upon the state of the Christian Church at 
the time when it was held, and which show that the 
conversion of many of the so-called Christians had 
been of a very superficial nature. The state of things 
revealed by the decrees of this Council is the more 
significant because the Council was held several years 
before the conversion of Constantine and before the 

1 "in tyranni oculos sputa jacit." ^ Four French cathedrals are dedi- 
Ibid. p. 453. See also Prudentius, cated to his memory. 
PeristepMnon, Hymn iii. * Sermon 276. 

2 Hymnus Prudentii de sancti ^ This is the date given by Hefele, 
Vincentii Martyrio. See also Ruinart, Mansi suggests 309 and Harduin 313. 
p. 375. 


SPAIN 273 

official patronage of Christianity had had time to lower 
the tone of the Christian Church. 

This Council, or rather synod, was held at Elvira^ 
or lUiberis, near to the modern Granada, and was 
attended by nineteen bishops and twenty-six pres- 
byters representing in all thirty-seven different 
Churches.2 The names of the Churches show that 
Christianity was diffused over a large part of Spain.^ 
The eighty-one canons passed by the Synod suggest 
that many Christians, and even bishops and clergy, immoral- 
lived immoral lives and were addicted to pagan practices, pjganfsm 
Thus we gather from them that some Christians dis- o^^^g^®^ 
charged the office of a pagan " flamen " (ii., iv.);tians. 
Christian mistresses were known to flog their maids to 
death (v.) ; reference is made to Christians who were 
murderers (vi.) ; to parents who married their daughters 
to pagan priests (xvii.) ; to adulterous bishops and 
clergy (xviii.) ; and to wives of the clergy who were 
adulteresses (Ixv.). Christians were prohibited from 
placing Hghted candles during the daytime in 
cemeteries, the prohibition being based on the ground 
that the spirits of the saints should not be 
disturbed (xxxiv.). ^ Some Christians altogether 
neglected church attendance (xlvi.) ; catechumens 
for long spaces of time ^ never came near a church (xlv.) ; 

^ See Histoire des Conciles, Hefele, enim sanctorum spiritus non sunt "), 

i. 212-264. Mansi, Concilia, ii. implies a belief that the burning of 

2 Some of the Spanish churches candles facilitated intercourse with 

were governed by presbyters or the dead. Spain has long been noted 

even by deacons. See Canon 77. . for its use of candles in connection 

^ Some dioceses, e.g. Tarraco and with its reHgious worship. Gams 

Asturica, were not represented at all. refers to it as the " land of candle- 

* The reason given for the pro- Hght,*' vol. ii. p. 91 f. 

hibition, lest the spirits of the saints ^ "per infinita tempora." Hefele, 

should be disturbed ("inquietandi i. p. 247. 


others were gamesters (Ixxix.), and attended idol 
sacrifices (lix.). 

Two canons are of special interest ; one (Ix.) which 
declares that no one is to be accounted a martyr who 
has destroyed idols and been killed for doing so ; an- 
other (xxxiii.), which for the first time appears as 
Celibacy a canon passed by a council, or synod, forbidding 
clergy. bishops, pricsts or deacons to live as husbands with 
their wives. 

It would appear that the number of those who were 
regarded as heretical was very considerable, as one 
canon (xvi.) condemns intermarriage with heretics. 
Refer- Christians are forbidden to intermarry (xvi.), or even 
the Jews, eat (1.), with Jews, or to allow Jews to pronounce a 
blessing on the fruits given by God (xhx.). Anyone 
who persists in allowing a Jew to bless his produce is 
to be cast out of the Church. The penalties attached 
to the violation of these canons were suspension from 
Communion. The most severe penalty, viz. that of 
suspension for life, is pronounced against those who 
sacrifice to idols, or who give their daughters in 
marriage to heathen priests, and against adulterous 
bishops and priests. 
Failure of Thcrc is rcasou to fear that the decrees of this council 
atSrm. failed to effect any great or permanent improvement 
in the Spanish Church. Thus Sulpicius Severus, 
writing at the end of the fourth century, after referring 
to the discord caused by the PrisciUianists in Spain, 
says : " That conflict after being sustained for fifteen 
years with horrible dissension could not by any means 
be set at rest. . . . Everything was corrupted by 
them (the bishops) through their hatred, partiality. 

SPAIN 275 

fear, faithlessness, envy, factiousness, lust, avarice, 
pride, sleepiness and inactivity." ^ 

Monasticism was introduced into Spain about the introduc- 
middle of the fourth century. PriscilUan, the author ^onasti- 
of the famous heresy which bears his name, and which ^^^"^• 
was suppressed with great cruelty in 385, was one of 
the first men to practise the ascetic life in Spain, but 
there is no evidence to show that monasteries or nun- 
neries were established until after his time. The Spanish 
clergy did not in fact take kindly to the monastic 
asceticism which at that time best expressed the ideals 
of the most earnest and most self-denjdng Christians.^ 
Vigilantius, who was serving as a priest at Barcelona vigiian- 
in 396, visited Palestine in 405, and after conversing ^^ouj^tes 
with Jerome and visiting the monasteries that were "^^nasti- 


springing up in Palestine, returned to the west, and 
started a campaign against the establishment of 
monasteries, denouncing specially the asceticism and the 
adoration of relics which they promoted. 

The outstanding figure in the Spanish Church during Hosius of 
the fourth century was Hosius bishop of Cordova.^ 
He presided^ at the Council of Nicaea (325) which, 
according to Sulpicius, was summoned at his sugges- 
tion.^ He lived to be over a hundred and although 
in 357 he subscribed an Arian creed at the Synod of 
Sirmium, he afterwards repudiated his action, and died, 
as he had lived, a supporter of the Catholic faith. 

^ S. Severus, Hist. ii. 51. Sul- ^ Hamack suggests that Hosius 

picius was perhaps prejudiced by may have been an Egyptian resident 

his bitterness against the PriscilUan- in Spain. Ibid. 301 n. 

ists, but his testimony cannot be ^ Athanasius, Apologia de fuga 

neglected. . . . See also Socrates, Hist. Ecd. i. 

2 See Hamack's Exp. of Christi- 13. Theodoret, Hist. Ecd. ii. 16. 

anity, ii. 306. s ^^-^^ ^ 55 


By the end of the fourth century the whole, or nearly 

the whole, of the Spanish Peninsula had become 

nominally Christian, but of the missionaries to whom 

this result was due we know nothing. There is, indeed, 

no other country in Europe which from the point of 

view of the missionary historian shows so complete a 

Invasion blank. In 409 a swarm of barbarians, Vandals, Suevi 

andTiani!and Alaui, the first two of Germanic and the last of 

^^^ Scythian origin, burst through the passes of the 

Pyrenees and speedily overran the whole peninsula. The 

Vandals occupied Andalusia and Granada ; the Suevi 

GaUcia, Leon and Castile ; and the Alani Portugal 

and Estremadura. They were not, however, left long 

Arrival of in the enjoyment of their conquests, as in 414 the 

the Goths, ^^^^^ ^^^^^ Atawulf followed them into Spain, and 

though, after defeating the Vandals and Alani, they 

retired for a time to the district of Toulouse, in 

466 they completed their conquest of the peninsula. 

By this time the earlier invaders had embraced 

Christianity .1 The Goths were Arian Christians and 

a large part of the Spanish Christians remained Arians 

King until the Gothic king Recarred, who came to the throne 

in 586, renounced Arianism and became a Catholic. 

His definite adhesion to Catholic Christianity was 

announced at the third Council of Toledo in 589.^ 

1 The Suevi who apart from the words " and the Son " after the clause 
Goths formed the most important "proceeding from the Father." 
section of the Spanish population, From Spain the clause spread into 
were heathen till 438 when they Gaul and thence into Italy. It was 
became Arian Christians under their rejected by Pope Leo III, but was 
king, Rekiar. In 560 they became eventually accepted by the Pope in 
Cathohcs. 1014. In the ninth century when 

2 This Council is memorable as Pope Leo III was asked to sanction 
the Nicene Creed in the form accepted the insertion of these words he had 
by it contained for the first time the the creed engraved on two shields 


SPAIN 277 

That idolatry was still practised in some parts of Spain 
is shown by the canon passed at this Council directing 
all priests and territorial judges to take steps to ex- Destmc- 
terminate it. The worship of Mars continued atidoktry. 
Betique near Cadiz as late as the time of Macrobius, 
i.e. the beginning of the fifth century,^ and a temple 
of Mars and priests attached to it were to be found in 
the north of the peninsula in the ninth century .^ St. 
Pacian, who was bishop of Barcelona towards the end 
of the fourth century, says that many of the inhabitants 
of this diocese are given to idolatry.^ 

The conversion of the Jews, of whom there were a 
large number in Spain, was sought to be attained by 
various forms of compulsion (see chap. xxi.). 

A decree passed by the Sixteenth Council of Toledo 
(693) shows that idolatry was still practised by slaves 
and freedmen.^ 

Speaking of the two hundred years during which The 
the Goths held dominion in Spain a recent writer says : ^^on 
'' The advent of an ignorant but devout race Kkethe^^^P^"^* 
Goths might probably arouse a more earnest faith in 
the new religion amid the worn-out paganism of the 
kingdom. . . . The result did not in any way justify 
the anticipation. The Goths remained devout indeed, 
but they regarded their acts of religion chiefly as re- 
paration for their vices. They compounded for an 
exceptionally bad sin by an added amount of repent- 
in Latin and Greek (without these been maintained, 
words), and hung them up in his ^ Cf. Saturnalia, i. 9. 

cathedral church to show that they ^ gg^ yj^^ S. Leonis in the Acta 

ought not to be accepted. In 867 SS. for March, vol. i. p. 95. 
the Greek Patriarch Photius pro- ^ See Migne, P. L. xiii. col. 1084. 

tested against the Spanish innova- * Canon ii. Hefele, iii. p. 583. 

tion, and his protest has ever since 


ance, and then they sinned again without compunction. 
They were quite as corrupt and immoral as the Roman 
nobles who had preceded them." ^ 
Invasion In 710 the first marauding expedition of Saracens, 
Moors, or Moors,2 crossed into Spain from Africa and on July 
19 of the following year, at the battle of Guadelete, 
the sovereignty of Spain passed from the Goths to 
the Moslems. Amongst those who sided with the 
invaders were the Jews, who had suffered so much 
from the hands of their Christian rulers, and the pagan 
slaves, who became converts to Islam. The leader of 
Tarik. the Moslcms was Tarik, whose memory is preserved in 
the word Gibraltar to which he gave his name.^ 
Within three years the whole of Spain had become 
subject to them with the exception of the small 
district of Murcia and the mountains of Asturias. 
The province of Narbonne in France, which was in- 
cluded in the Moslem conquests, was freed from 
their control as the result of the battle of Tours 
in 732. 
Treat- To the inhabitants of Spain the Moslems offered the 

the Chris- three alternatives of conversion to Islam, tribute, or 
the sword. Those who accepted the second alternative 
became known by the term Mozarabs.^ Although 
the Christians who were content to pay tribute 
suffered but little from their conquerors, many Chris- 
tians embraced Islam and still more lost all zeal 

^ The Moors in Spain, Lane other Moslems in Spain. 

Poole, p. 7. ^ Gibraltar = Gebal-tarik, i.e. Hill 

2 The word Saracens Hterally of Tarik. 

means Easterns. The word Moor is ^ Mozarab or Mostarab, an Arabic 

properly appUcable to the Berbers participial form, was generally apphed 

in N. Africa and Spain, but is fre- to those who adopted the Arab way 

quently used to denote the Arabs and of Hving. 


SPAIN 279 

for their own faith and studied Moslem books and 

This was specially the case at Cordova, which was 
the chief centre of Mohammedan Government and 
influence. As the Moslems took over from the Goths 
the right to exercise a veto on the election of bishops, 
those elected were seldom distinguished for their 
opposition to Islam. 

In 851 thirteen Christians suffered death as martyrs Martyrs of 
in Cordova, nearly all of whom had provoked the gg^l^''''^' 
Moslems to attack them by reviling their prophet and 
their reUgion. During the next three years about 
twenty suffered in a similar way. From the eleventh 
century to the fifteenth the history of Spain consists 
largely of wars waged not only between Christians and civil wars. 
Moslems but between co-religionists on either side. 
The Christians tended to become stronger in the north, 
especially in Castile, Galicia, Navarre, Aragon and 
Portugal, but their internal dissensions prevented 
them from combining to drive out the Moslems from 
their country. " Unchecked by the church, the nation, 
from the highest to the lowest, became demoraUzed 
and substituted superstition, bigotry and outward 
acts of devotion for faith, charity and spiritual 
religion, accepting at the best military honour, at the 
worst sheer brutality and barbarism in the place 
of Christian morality." 2 The dissensions amongst 

^ Alvar writes, " Who is there turning over the pages of the Chal- 

among our faithful laity who reads deans, earnestly reading them ? " 

the Holy Scriptures or takes a look Indiculus Luminosus, c. 35. 

at the works of any doctors that are 2 rpj^^ Church in Spain, by F. 

written in Latin ? . . . Are not all Meyrick, 1892, p. 354. See also 

our young Christians . . . skilled History of Spain and Portugal, by 

in heathen learning . . . eagerly Dunham, iii. 37, 143, etc. 


the Moslems were even more bitter and suicidal than 
those among the Christians, and the influence of the 
latter was gradually extended towards the south. 
Conquests Betwecu 1238 and 1260 Fernando III of Castile and 
Chris- Jayme I of Aragon conquered Valencia, Cordova, 
Seville and Murcia and the rule of the Moslems became 
limited to the present province of Granada in the 
extreme south. Here however they maintained their 
power for two and a half centuries more, though for 
the greater part of the time they paid tribute to the 
Christian kings. 
Capituia- After fighting had been carried on with little inter- 
Granada, mission for ten years and the province of Granada 
had been gradually wrested from the Moslems, the 
capitulation of the town of Granada was signed on 
Nov. 25, 1491. By the terms of its capitulation freedom 
of worship was guaranteed to the Moslems and the 
first Christian archbishop Hernando de Talavera, 
whilst respecting the terms granted to them, sought 
to promote their conversion to Christianity by sym- 
pathy and persuasion. With this end in view he 
ordered his clergy to learn Arabic and he himself said 
his prayers in this language. So successful were his 
Baptism cfforts that in 1499 three thousand Moslems were 
Moslems, baptized in a single day. Had this unique missionary 
experiment been permitted to continue unchecked it 
is hard to say how great might have been its results. 
Unhappily, however, the policy of the archbishop 
failed to meet with the approval of his superiors. 
Cardinal Ximenes, who visited Granada at this time, 
Persecu- disapproved of employing gentler means for the pro- 
Moslems.^ secution of missionary work when force was available, 

SPAIN 281 

and persuaded the queen to issue a decree offer- 
ing the Moslems the choice of baptism or exile. 
To hasten their conversion still further he closed 
their mosques and burnt countless manuscripts 
which contained the results of Moslem study and 

As a result of the pressure exerted upon the Moslems Nominal 
a large number became nominal Christians, but their sions to 
compulsory conversion caused them to hate every- anity/ 
thing connected with the Christian religion. They 
would wash off the water with which their children 
had been baptized and after a Christian wedding they 
returned to their homes to be married again with 
Moslem rites. In 1567 PhiHp II endeavoured to 
compel them to speak the Spanish language, to re-name 
themselves by Spanish names and to adopt Spanish 
dress. Soon afterwards a rebelHon broke out which 
lasted for two years, and was repressed with barbarous 
cruelty. In 1570, when the Moslems were finally Final sub- 
subdued, the survivors were either sold as slaves orouhe*^^ 
exiled, the deportation of the last remnant taking J^^^^^J^'^^' 
place in 1610. To quote again the words of Lane 
Poole : " The (Spanish) Grand Commander Requesens 
by an organized system of wholesale butchery and 
devastation, by burning down villages, and smoking 
the people to death in the caves where they had sought 
refuge, extinguished the last spark of open revolt 
before November 5, 1570. The Moriscos were at last 
subdued at the cost of the honour, and with the loss 
of the future, of Christian Spain. . . . The Moors 
were banished ; for a while Christian Spain shone, 
like the moon, with a borrowed light ; then came 


the eclipse, and in that darkness Spain has grovelled 
ever since." ^ 

Asug. As we study the religious and political history of 

fegend^ Spain we are constrained to recognize the large measure 
of truth contained in the old Spanish legend, according 
to which, on the occasion of the creation of the world, 
Spain asked and obtained four boons from its 
Creator — a lovely climate, a beautiful sea, a fertile 
land, and beautiful women. A fifth request, viz. that 
she might obtain a good government, was refused by 
the Creator, who said that if it were granted Spain 
would become a terrestrial paradise. ' ' It was not only 
a good government," writes a modern historian, " that 
was refused, but men capable of being governed." ^ 

Before we pass from the story of the spread of 
Christianity in Spain a brief reference should be made 
to two Spaniards who exerted a considerable influence 
upon the development of the Christian Church in the 

Pope West, — ^Pope Damasus and the Emperor Theodosius I. 
After a fierce strife and the massacre of a large number 
of his opponents, Damasus was elected Pope in 366. 
His term of office was characterized by a great increase 
in monasticism which he did much to promote, and 
by the production of the Latin Bible translated by 
Jerome, which became the recognized Bible of the 
Western Church. 

Theo- Theodosius I was born at Cauca in Spain in 346, 

and in 379 was appointed co- emperor with Gratian. 
In the following year he was baptized by Bishop 
Ascolius at Thessalonica. The severity with which 

^ The Moors in Spain, pp. 278, 280. 

2 UEspagne chretienne, Leclercq, p. xxiii. f. 


dosius I. 

SPAIN 283 

he persecuted all Christians whom he learned to regard 
as unorthodox was characteristically Spanish. The 
massacre of the inhabitants of Thessalonica which he 
authorized brought upon him the well-known rebuke 
of Ambrose. He died in 395. 



During the early centuries of the Christian era, the 
greater part of Austria and a portion of Hungary were 
included in the provinces of Pannonia and Noricum. 


Limits of The name Pannonia was applied to the country 

annonia. j^q^j^^^^ ^^ ^^^ uorth and cast by the Danube, from 

a point 10 miles north of Vienna to Belgrade in Mcesia, 

being coterminous on the west with Noricum and Italy, 

and on the south with Dalmatia and Moesia Superior. 

It included the south-west of Hungary with parts of 

Lower Austria, Styria, Carniola, Croatia, and Slavonia. 

Bishop A Pannonian bishop named Domnus, the site of whose 

325"^""^' see is unknown, was present at the Council of Nicaea 

(325), and at the dedication of the Christian church 

in Jerusalem (335) Eusebius says that the Moesians and 

Pannonians were represented by " the fairest bloom of 

God's youthful stock among them." ^ 

other References occur to the existence of Christian com- 

Pannonia! munitics at Sirmium, Cibalis, Siscia, Singidimum 

(on the border of Dacia), Scarabantia and Sabaria.^ 

1 TCL Trap' avTois dvdovvra kclWt} 2 gg^ Ruinart, Mart Syn. pp. 432, 

TTjs rod Qeov veoXaias. Vita Con- 433, 521, 435, 523. 
stantini, iv. 43. 


Plate 4. 

in the 4*.** Century 

'Statute 'Miles 

George Philip &• Son, Ud^ 
Longmans, Green & Co., London, New York, Bombay, Calcutta .& Madras. 

To face page 28Jlt 


As eaxly as 304 it could be said that " very many years " 
had elapsed since a bishop named Eusebius had suffered 
martyrdom at Cibalis. Valens was bishop at Mursa 
before the Council of Nicaea, and Victorinus, who was a 
famous writer and versed in Greek Christian literature, 
was bishop of Poetovium (Pettau) about 300. 


The province of Noricum, which lay between Rhsetia Limits of 
and Pannonia, included roughly speaking the territory ^''^^^"^ 
lying between long. 48° 30' and 46° 30' N. and lat. 12° 
and 15° 30' E. This territory is now included in S.E. 
Bavaria, the N.E. portion of Upper Austria, and the 
E. portipn of the Austrian Tyrol. By the beginning 
of the fourth century the province had become com- 
pletely Romanized. Although definite records are 
lacking, it is probable that Christianity had been 
preached in Noricum before the beginning of the 
fourth century. 

St. Florian was martyred by being drowned in the st. 
R. Enns at Laiu-iacum (Lorch) in 304, and a saint ^4"^^' 
called Maximihan who lived in the third century was 
honom-ed at Salzbiu'g.^ Athanasius ^ refers to bishops Bishops at 
of Noricum who attended the Council of Sardica circ. 343, It^^""^' 
without, however, giving their names. There may also 
have been a bishopric at Teurnia (Tibmnia) ^ before 325. 

It would appear that Christianity gained general 
acceptance throughout Noricum by the end of the 

^ See Hauck*8 Kirchengeschichte of G. ii. 238, and Hauck's K. D. i. 

DeutscMands, i. 347, 359. 360. 

2 Apol. c. Arian. ; Hist, ad * See Harnack, Exp. of G. ii. 238. 
Monach. 28. See Harnack, Exf. 


fourth century and continued as the dominant faith 
Destruc- till the incursious of the barbarians at the close of the 
Christian fifth ccutury, after which there remained only relics 
churches, ^f Christian communities. 

Before this catastrophe occiu^red churches had been 
established at Juvavum (Salzburg), Joviacum, Asturis, 
Commagena, Castellum CucuUae (Kuchel on the Sal- 
zach), Batava (Passau), Boiodurum (Innstadt), Quin- 
tana (Plattling) and several other places. 
Barbarian Whilst the Alcmauni and Heruli invaded the Roman 
frontier on the north and west, the Goths threatened 
it on the east. The troops on the Danube who were 
left without pay were unable to offer an effective re- 
sistance, and, as the barbarians swarmed across the 
frontiers, the Latin- speaking population deserted their 
cities and with their priests and sacred vessels sought a 
refuge in Italy. 
Severinus. Before this happened and while the country was in 
a state of uncertainty and misery there appeared 
amongst its inhabitants a remarkable missionary whose 
biography, written by a contemporary, has fortunately 
been preserved.^ 
His early The Uncertainty which existed in regard to his nation- 
mystery, ality and the country in which his youth had been spent 
added to the romance connected with his work. When 
on one occasion a priest named Primenius ventured to 
say to him, " Reverend Master, from what province 
hath the great light come which God hath seen fit to 
bestow upon these lands ? " he replied jestingly, '' If 

^ Eugippius, the biographer and an inmate of the monastery at Favi- 

companion of Severinus, was born anse. He wrote the Life about 511. 

at Carthage circ. 450 and ordained Severinus died 482. See also the Life 

at Rome. He subsequently became of S. in the AcUi 8S. for Jan. 8. 


you suppose me to be a fugitive slave, have the ransom 
in readiness to pay for me, if I am claimed," but, he 
added in a more serious vein, '' What profiteth it the 
servant of God to name his country or race, when by 
keeping silence concerning them he can more easily 
avoid vainglory ? For vainglory is Kke the left hand, 
without whose knowledge I desire through the gift of 
Christ to accompUsh a good work, that so I may deserve 
to be among those on Christ's right hand, and to be 
enrolled as a citizen of the celestial country. If thou 
knowest that I, though unworthy, truly desire that 
celestial country, what need that thou learn the earthly 
country of which thou askest ? But know that the 
God who appointed thee to the priesthood commanded 
me also to dwell amongst these who are threatened 
with many dangers." ^ 

In the same letter from which the reference to this 
incident occurs and which was addressed by his bio- 
grapher, Eugippius, to Paschasius, commending to him 
the Life which he had compiled, he says, '' His speech 
revealed a man of purest Latin stock and it is under- 
stood that he first departed into some desert place of 
the East because of his fervid desire for a more perfect 
life, and that thence, constrained by divine revelation, 
he later came to the towns of Riverside Noricum near 
Upper Panonia, which were harassed by frequent in- 
cursions of the Barbarians. So he himself was wont to 
hint in obscure language as if speaking of another, 
naming some cities of the East and indicating that he 
had passed by miracle through the dangers of an 
immense journey." 2 

^ Ep. ad Paschasium, 4. 2 ^p. ad Pasch. 4, 


He first appeared at Asturis, a small town a little 
above Vienna, and, on its destruction by the barbarians, 
he moved to Commagena, where his presence served to 
bring hope to the inhabitants who were expecting to 
be attacked. The next place which he visited was 
Favianae,^ at which the incidents related by his biog- 
rapher are typical of many others which are recorded. 
The barbarians having plundered its neighbourhood 
and having led away captive all the men and cattle 
outside its walls, the terror-stricken citizens pre- 
sented themselves before him with tears and entreaties 
He sue- for help. When Severinus asked the Roman tribune 
people of Mamertinus, who was in command in the district, 
Favianae. -j ^^ ^^^|^ ^ixT^Me the robbcrs, he rephed, "I 
have soldiers a very few% but I dare not contend 
with so great a host of enemies. However, if thou 
commandest it, venerable (father), though we lack the 
aid of weapons yet we believe that through thy prayers 
we shall be victorious." ^ Severinus bade him advance, 
confident that God would aid him, only charging him 
to bring back to him unharmed all whom he should 
capture. The attack proved successful and Severinus, 
having ordered the barbarian captives to be fed, sent 
them back to their own people in peace. It is interest- 
ing to note that this Roman tribune eventually became 
a Christian bishop. Tn the neighbourhood of Favianaj 
Severinus built a monastery, where " he began to in- 
struct great numbers in the sacred way of life, training 
the souls of hearers rather by deeds than by words." 
Referring to his habits of abstinence and self-denial, his 

^ Near the present town of Mautern G. Robinson, p. 36 n. 
on the Danube, For its site see ^ yiui, c. ii. 10. 

Eugippius' Life of S. Severinus by 


biographer writes, " He subdued his flesh by innumer- Hisasceti- 
able fasts ... he wore no shoes whatever. At mid- ""'^"^ 
winter, which in those regions is a time of cruel, numb- 
ing cold, he gave a remarkable proof of endurance by 
being always willing to walk barefoot." ^ 

" He never broke his fast before sunset except on an 
appointed festival. In Lent he was satisfied with one 
meal a week, yet his countenance shone with the same 
cheerfulness. He wept over the faults of others as if 
they were his own, and helped to overcome them by 
such aid as he could give." ^ 

One of the tribes represented in Noricum was theArianand 
Rugii, whose king Flaccitheus had apparently been con- chris-'*''^ 
verted by Arian missionaries. It is probable that a*'^""^' 
considerable number of his subjects were also Arian 
Christians. How bitter were the feehngs that existed 
between the Arian and the orthodox Christians may 
be gathered from the remark of Eugippius concerning 
Gisa, the wife of King Feva (Feletheus) : " Among the 
other pollutions of her iniquity she even attempted 
to rebaptize certain catholics." ^ When, on one occa- 
sion, it was suggested to Severinus that he should Severinus 
accept the office of a bishop he refused, saying that be made a 
" it was enough for him that, withdrawn from his be- ^^'^""P- 
loved sohtude, he had come by divine direction to that 
province to live among the pressing, crowding throngs." * 
By means of the influence which he obtained with 
Gibuldus the king of the Alemanni he restrained him 
on several occasions from the depredations that he 
had planned and induced him to set free captives 
whom he had taken. 

1 Vilu, c. iv. 2 Yi^^ X. 47. ^ y^^^ ^ j^j 15 4 yi^^^ ^ i^j j^ 




When, '' after many struggles and long contests," 
he perceived that he was about to pass from this world, 
he summoned Feva, the king of the Rugii and his wife 
and urged them, as one " about to stand in the presence 
of God," to '' refrain from unjust deeds and apply " 
themselves " to works of piety," and he foretold that 
all the peoples of Noricum would migrate in safety 
to the Roman province. His biographer states that 
he had foretold the day of his death two years before 
its occurrence. 

His dying In the coursc of an address delivered to the monks 
and others who were gathered round his death-bed he 
said : " Let us be humble in heart, tranquil in mind 
. . . knowing that meanness of garb, the name monk, 
the word religion, the outward form of piety, profiteth 
us not, if touching the observance of God's commands 
we be found degenerate and false." ^ He bade all 
approach in succession to receive a kiss, and having 
received the holy sacrament he commanded that they 
should sing a psalm. When grief kept them silent, he 
himself started the verse, " Praise ye the Lord in his 
sanctuary, let everything that hath breath praise the 
Lord," and as he was repeating the words, "he fell 
asleep in the Lord." He died on January 8, 482. 

Contents The task to which Severinus was called resembled, 
apart from its purely missionary aspect, that of Jere- 
miah, inasmuch as a chief part of his message consisted 
of a summons to repent and to give way to the 
invaders of the country against whom no effective or 
permanent resistance could be made. By the austere 
hoUness of his life and that of his disciples he commanded 

1 Vita, c. xi. 52. 

of his 


the respect of the lawless chiefs, and, whilst he relieved 
the material wants of those who had lost all that they 
possessed amidst the ravages and desolations of this 
unhappy time, he was the means of converting and 
adding to the Christian Church many from the ranks 
alike of the persecuted and the persecutors. 

It is interesting to note that although his life was The 
written by a contemporary, it contains, as does that^tbuted 
of St. Martin, long and detailed accounts of miracles *° ^^°^- 
which were attributed to him. In his case a large pro- 
portion of the miraculous gifts with which he is credited 
were displayed in foretelUng events, or in describing 
events that were occurring at a distance at the time 
when he was speaking. If we suppose that he was 
gifted with a kind of second sight, such as that which 
a limited number of persons have been proved to possess 
within more recent times, many of these miraculous 
occurrences would receive an explanation which, with- 
out impugning the veracity of his biographer, would 
enable us to regard them as consistent with the normal 
methods of God's dealings with men. It is certainly 
the case that several of the incidents attributed to 
Severinus, and regarded by his biographer as miraculous, 
can be paralleled by exactly similar incidents which 
have been attributed to persons possessed of what is 
popularly called second sight, and which have been 
indisputably authenticated within recent times. The 
same explanation may be offered of several incidents 
attributed by Adamnan to Columba. 



Limits of The kingdom of Moravia in the early part of the 
Moravia, ^^^j^ centurj, the time when Christianity first spread 
throughout the country, extended from the frontier 
of Bavaria to the river Drina and from the Danube to 
the river Styri in southern Poland. The Slavonic race 
that inhabited it had been subjected by Charlemagne, 
and some unsuccessful efforts had been made to intro- 
duce Christianity under the direction of Arno, arch- 
Workof bishop of Salzburg. A church was consecrated by 
Arno!'836. Arno at Neutra in 836. It would appear that the 
priests who endeavoured to win the people to a pro- 
fession of Christianity were unacquainted with the 
Slavonic tongue, and, as a natural consequence, the 
services which were said in Latin failed to appeal to 
those whom they desired to influence. 
King In 863 the Moravian king Rostislav, or Radislav, 

fsks'ilr who was anxious to recover his independence and de- 
sired to ally himself with the Greek Empire, asked the 
Emperor Michael to send Christian teachers to instruct 
his people. His words, as recorded by the Russian 
chronicler,! imply that by this date a large proportion 
of the people had been baptized. The message to the 
Greek Emperor runs : " Our land is baptized and we 
have no teacher to preach to us, to instruct us and to 
explain to us the Holy Scriptures. We do not under- 
stand either the Greek or Latin tongue : some teach 
us in one way, some in another : we do not understand 
the meaning of the sacred Scriptures nor their import. 
Send us teachers who may be able to explain to us the 

1 See Ghronique de Nesior, pp. 19-21. 



letter and the spirit of the sacred Scriptures." On 
receipt of this message the Emperor called together 
his wise men and repeated to them the message of the 
Slav princes,^ whereupon one of them said : " There 
is a man at Thessalonica called Leon, who has sons well 
acquainted with the Slavonic language and versed in 
science and philosophy." The Emperor on hearing 
this sent to Leon and ordered him to send him his two 
sons, Methodius 2 and Constantine (Cyril) ,^ and, after Methodius 
interviewing them, he sent them to the Slavonic princes. ^^ ^^^ ' 
The chronicler continues: "After their arrival they The use 
formed the letters of the Slavonic alphabet and trans- Slavonic 
lated the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospels. ^^^^^^^^ 
The Slavs rejoiced to hear of the greatness of God in 
their own language. . . . Then certain persons began 
to find fault with the books written in Slavonic and to 
say, ' No people ought to have its own alphabet except 
it be Hebrew, Greek, or Latin, as is shown by the in- 
scription which Pilate wrote upon the cross of the 
Saviour.' The Pope of Rome when he heard this, 
blamed those who murmured against the Slavonic 
books and said, ' Let the words of Holy Scripture be 
accomplished, and let all tongues praise God.' " He 
added words which contrast with those used by his 

^ This message was sent in the his death. Prior to his missionary- 
names of Rostislav, Swatopolk and activities he had held high official 
Kotsel. rank in the Government of Mace- 

^ This Methodius is probably not donia. Before his visit to Moravia 

to be identified with the Methodius, he worked as a missionary amongst 

a painter and monk, who is said to the Khazars. At the age of seven 

have converted Boris, king of Bui- he dreamed that his father desired 

garia, by painting a representation him to marry the fairest maiden in 

of the final judgment. Constantinople and that the object 

3 The name Cyril was adopted by of his choice was Wisdom (aotpla). 
Constantino at Rome shortly before 


successors to others who have from time to time desired 
to have the Bible and the Kturgy in their own tongue, 
" If anyone finds fault with the Slavonic writing let 
him be cut oft from the Church till he be corrected, for 
such men are wolves and not sheep." 

Apart from this account supplied by the Russian 
chronicler, which dates from the beginning of the 
twelfth century, we have a life of Cyril contained in 
the Acta Sanctorum,^ the origin of which is of an earlier 
date. According to this Cyril learnt Slavonic after, 
and not before, his first visit to Moravia. This latter 
statement, if we may assume its accuracy, reflects the 
greater credit upon his missionary zeal. 

The narrative supplied by the Russian chronicler 
continues : '' Constantine (Cyril) then returned and 
went to instruct the Bulgarian nation, and Methodius 
remained in Moravia. Then tKe prince Kotsel 
established Methodius as bishop in Pannonia, the seat 
of St. Andronicus, who was one of the seventy disciples 
A Slavonic of the Apostlc Paul. Methodius appointed two skilful 
writers who translated all the Holy Scriptures from 
Greek into Slavonic in the space of six months. . . . 
The Apostle Andronicus is the founder of the Slav 
nation, and he came to Moravia." The chronicler goes 
on to claim St. Paul as the founder of the Slav people 
on the ground that he preached in lUyria, which was 
partly inhabited by Slavs.^ 

The work of Methodius and Cyril continued without 
interruption for four and a half years, at the end of 
which the political relations between Moravia and Con- 
stantinople altered and the Moravian princes estab- 

1 Acta Sanctorum, March 9. ^ Id. p. 21. 


lished closer connections with the Western Empire, 
one result of which was to bring the Christians in Moravia 
into touch with Rome. In 868 Pope Nicolas summoned Methodius 
Methodius and Cyril to Rome, whither they took what at lomi^ 
was alleged to be the body of St. Clement of Rome, 
which Cyril claimed to have found on the shores of the 
Chersonese.^ Adrian, who had become Pope by the 
time of their arrival, declared himself satisfied with 
their orthodoxy and appointed Methodius as Metro- 
politan of Moravia and Pannonia. Cyril remained 
behind in Rome. On the dethronement of Rostislav 
Methodius took refuge in Pannonia, where however 
his use of the Slavonic Bible and liturgy aroused the 
dislike of the German priests, who objected to the use 
of any language other than Latin in the Church services. 
Complaints having reached Rome, Pope John VIII 
wrote forbidding Methodius to celebrate mass in Slavonic 
and summoning him to defend himself against the 
charges that had been made.^ In 879 he arrived 
once more in Rome. Here, as has already been men- 
tioned, he succeeded in obtaining the consent of the The Pope 
Pope to the continued use of the Slavonic language, the ceie-^^ 
The Pope's letter, subsequently addressed to the^"^*^^^^^ 
Moravian prince, is of historic interest from a mission- Slavonic. 
ary standpoint. In it he wrote : " The alphabet in- 
vented by a certain philosopher Constantine (Cyril),, 
to the end that God's praise may duly sound forth 

^ According to the story told in plains why St. Clement became the 

the Clementine Epitome, Clement patron saint of the seafaring popula- 

was banished to Cherson by Trajan, tions of Denmark and Norway, 

and in consequence of his success as See p. 499. 

a missionary was thrown into the ^ Epistolm Joannis Papce, viii. 

sea by the heathen with an anchor ccxxxix. Migne, P. L. cxxvi. 
round his neck. This legend ex- 


thereby, we rightly commend, and we order that in 
this language the messages (prceconia) and works of 
Christ our God be declared : for we are exhorted on 
the authority of Holy Scripture to praise the Lord, not 
in three languages alone, but in all tongues. ... It 
stands not at all in contradiction with the faith to 
celebrate the mass in this Slavonic language,^ or to 
read the holy Gospel or lessons from the Old and New 
Testament, properly translated and interpreted, or to 
rehearse any of the church hymns in the same, for the 
God who is the author of the three principal languages, 
Hebrew, Greek and Latin, created the others also for 
His own praise and glory. We command, however, 
that in all the churches of your land, for the greater 
honour of the Gospel, it should in the first place be 
read in Latin, and then translated into the Slavonian 
language for those who do not understand Latin, as 
in certain churches appears to be done." ^ 
A Mora- Bcforc his return the Pope confirmed Methodius as 
bishopric' an independent archbishop of the Moravian Church 
and consecrated Wichin, a man of German origin, to be 
bishop of Neutra under his jurisdiction. This latter 
bishop was opposed to Methodius and desired to break 
off all connection with the Greek Church and to follow 
the usages of the Roman Church. Methodius visited 
^Rome again in 881, and it is uncertain whether he re- 
tiuned again to Moravia.^ 

^ "Nee sanae fidei vel doctrinae given in the Acta Sanctorum for 

ahquid obstat missam in eadem March 9. 

Slavonica Ungua canere." ^ According to the biography of 

2 Letter to Svantopnlcus, King of Clement, archbishop of Bulgaria, 

Moravia. Migne, cxxvi., col. 904 f. Methodius continued as archbishop 

See &\so BaYonii, Annates Ecclesiastici, in Moravia for twenty-four years, 

anno. 880, p. 341. The letter is also and it was not till after his death 


The German bishops continued their opposition to the 
estabhshment of an independent Moravian archbishopric 
until the kingdom of Moravia was itself dissolved. In 
907 it was invaded by pagan Magyars, or Hungarians, Pagan 
and when after a war lasting for thirty years peace was 907^ ^^^' 
at last restored, it was united to the kingdom of Bohemia. 
The use of the Slavonic language soon after this 
practically ceased. 


The first trace of the introduction of Christianity Baptismof 
into Bohemia ^ appears to be the record of the baptism ^efs?^^^ 
of fourteen Bohemian chiefs at Ratisbon on January 1, ^'*^- 
845.2 " It is very probable that these nobles had been 
obliged to fly from Bohemia in consequence of one of 
the many feuds that then desolated the country and 
that they hoped by accepting the Christian faith to 
secure German aid against their internal enemies." ^ 
The story told of the conversion of the Bohemian Duke Conver- 
Borzivoi is characteristic of the time to which it isBorz^Joi, 
assigned, and probably contains an element of truth. ^'^^ 
On the occasion of his visit to the Moravian Prince 
Swatopluk in 871, when dinner was served, he and his 
attendants were assigned a place on the floor as being 

that his opponents gained control occupied by the Slavonians, 

over the Moravian Church. 2 xhe entry in the Fuldenses 

^ The name Bohemia is derived Annales (Pertz, i. 364) reads : 

from the Celtic tribe of the Boii, "Hludovicus quatuordecem ex duci- 

who occupied that territory at the bus Boemanorum cum hominibus 

beginning of the Christian era. suis Christianam religionem desi- 

Boiohemum, i.e. the country of derantes suscepit, et in octavis 

the Boii, was modified to Bohemia. Theophanise baptizari jussit." 

It was afterwards occupied by the ^ Bohemia, an historical sketch, by 

Teutonic Marcomanni, who abandoned Count Liitzow, p. 13. 
it in the fifth century, when it was 



heathen, whilst Swatopluk and Bishop Methodius sat 
at the high table. In reply to a question addressed 
to him by Methodius, he said, " What may I hope to 
gain by becoming a Christian ? " Methodius replied, 
" A place higher than all kings and princes." He was 
soon afterwards baptized, together with thirty of his 
attendants, and his conversion was followed by that 
of his wife, Ludmilla, and his two sons. 

The opposition of his subjects to the introduction 
of the new faith was, however, so strong that it made 
but slow progress in Bohemia.^ His son, Wratislav, 
"Good who died in 925, left two sons, Wenzeslav, known to 
Wences- siugcrs of Christmas carols as " Good King Wenceslas," 
and a younger son, Boleslav. Dragomira, who be- 
came the ruler of Bohemia, was the leader of the 
pagan party, and she drove away the Christian 
missionaries and destroyed the churches. The educa- 
tion of the two brothers was for a time entrusted to 
their grandmother Ludmilla, but ere long she was 
assassinated by order of Dragomira. When Wenzeslav 
came to the throne he became an ardent champion of 
Christianity and endeavoured to reform the morals of 
his subjects besides building a number of churches and 

In 938^ Wenzeslav resolved to abdicate his throne 
and to become a monk, but before he could accomplish 
his purpose he was murdered by his brother Boleslav. 
On the accession of Boleslav a reaction occurred and 

^ According to Cosmas, Borzivoi king of Moravia, 

eventually abandoned his throne and * See Life of Wenzeslav by the 

lived and died disguised as a hermit. monk Christian in Balbini, Epitome 

Chronica Slavorum, i. 14. Cf. similar Hist. Rerum Bohemicarum, pp. 54 ff. 

tradition in regard to Swatopluk, ^ According to Cosmas, 929. 


the Christian missionaries were again expelled and the 
churches and monasteries destroyed ; but in 950, having 
been defeated in battle by Otto I, he was compelled 
to grant religious liberty to his subjects and to allow 
the Christian missionaries to return. Before the end 
of his reign he himself made a profession of Christi- 
anity. His son, Boleslav II, who succeeded him in 
967, helped to spread the influence of the Christian 
Church throughout his dominions, and in 973 he estab- 
lished the bishopric of Prague. Thietmar, a Saxon, TWetmar, 
who was appointed as the first bishop,^ although plague, 
meeting with considerable opposition, succeeded in^^^* 
erecting many churches and monasteries. He was 
followed in 982 by Adalbert ^ who belonged to a noble Bishop 
family and had been educated at Magdeburg. With 932*. ^^ ' 
more energy than discretion he sought to compel the 
people to accept Christianity, and strove to suppress 
polygamy, the concubinage practised by the clergy and 
the traffic in Christian slaves by the Jews. It would 
appear from the statement of his biographer that 
whilst the majority of the Bohemians professed Christi- 
anity their profession did not affect their lives.^ 

His attempts to abolish the Slavonic liturgy and to 
uphold Roman usages increased his unpopularity and he 
eventuahy gave up his work in despair in 989 and, after 
visiting Rome, retired to a monastery, where he remained 
for five years. On the invitation of a synod, which 

^ Cosmas describes him as "vir ^ His Bohemian name was Voj- 

quidam de Saxonia mirae eloquentiae tech. He was born about 956. 

et literaUs scientise . . . qui Sclav- ^ See Acta Sanctorum, April 23, 

onicam perfecte linguam sciebat." p. 178. " Plerique vero nomine tenus 

Ghron. Slav. i. 23. The new diocese Christiani ritu gentilium vivunt, 

of Prague included parts of Bohemia, quibus causa periculi fit res salutis." 
Silesia, Lusatia, and Moravia. 


was held in Rome in 994, he returned to his work in 
Bohemia, but meeting with further opposition he went 
to Hungary, where his labours met with considerable 

Baptism success and where he baptized Vayik, the son of the 

(Stephen) Dukc Gcyza, who was afterwards known as St. Stephen. 

g'^ry!'^' His stay in Hungary was, however, short and he re- 
turned again to Rome in 995. At the urgent request 
of Pope Gregory V he started to return to Prague in 
996, but, on hearing of the persecution of the 
Christians at Prague, he turned aside and went to 
visit Boleslav, the King of Poland. Two years later 

Martyr- he visitcd Prussia, where he met with a martyr's 

dom of , , 1 • r^r^w , 

Adalbert, death m 997.^ 

In 1038 Severus became archbishop of Prague.^ 
Inspired, as he declared, by a vision of the martyred 
Adalbert, he succeeded in enforcing respect for Christian 
marriage and the observance of Christian customs. In 
his time the use of the Slavonic liturgy was almost 
completely suppressed. At the Council of Salona, 
The held in 1060, the use of the Slavonic liturgy was formally 
uturgy. prohibited and Gregory VII repeated this prohibition.^ 
Two hundred years later, in 1248, a bishop of Senia, 
finding that the Slavonic liturgy was still in use, referred 
the matter to Pope Innocent IV and received permission 
to continue its use in his diocese.^ 

It is of interest to note that the copy of the Gospels 
upon which the kings of France formerly took their 
oath in the Cathedral of Rheims was in the Slavonic 

^ See below, p. 426. for the Roman rite printed in Glago- 

2 See Chronicle of Cosmas, bk. ii. litic characters is used in the Slavic 

^ See Hefele, Histoire des Conciles, churches of the dioceses of Zengg, 

iv. 1363. Veglia, Zara, and Spalato." Catholic 

* " To-day the Slavonic language Encyclop. vol. vi. 576. 


language, written partly in the Cyrillic and partly in 
the Glagolitic characters.^ 

Hungary ^ 

In the early centuries of the Christian era the south- 
west portion of Hungary constituted part of the pro- 
vince of Pannonia which was subjugated by Tiberius, 
whilst the south-east portion formed part of the pro- 
vince of Dacia ^ which was incorporated into the Roman 
Empire by Trajan. The province of Dacia also included 
the greater part of modern Servia. We have already 
referred to the traces of Christianity in Pannonia before 
the Council of Nicaea. 

In 376 the Huns crossed the Don and established The Huns, 
themselves (about 380) in Pannonia, where, under Attila, 
their power so far increased that by 432 the authority 
of the Romans had ceased to exist. After the death 
of Attila (453) the greater part of the country became 
subject to the Ostrogoths and Gepidae. Between 526 and 
548 the Longobardi conquered the whole of Pannonia, 
and when these migrated to Italy in 568, the Huns 
(Avars) invaded the country. Between 791 and 796 Wars with 
Charlemagne fought a series of wars with the Huns, one magne" 
of his alleged objects being to convert them to the 
Christian faith. The Christianity which was then intro- 
duced left little permanent trace, as the removal of 
miKtary pressure was followed by an immediate re- 

1 For the history of this copy of was conquered by the Hungarian 
the Slavonic Gospels see Krasinki's prince, Stephen I, in 1004, and has 
Lectures on the Religious History of the with a few interruptions been con- 
Slavonic Nations, p. 40. nected with Hungary ever since. 

2 Under this section is included ^ Dacia also included the modern 
the province of Transylvania which Rumania. 


Baptism action against the foreign faith. One of the first of the 

796.^ ^'^' Huns to accept Christianity was a prince named Tudun, 

who came to the Emperor with a numerous train of 

followers in 796 and received baptism. Arno, bishop 

of Salzburg, was then entrusted by Charlemagne with 

the task of commending the faith to the Huns whom he 

Aicuin had conquered. Letters are extant written by Alcuin 

c^teT ^f York to Charlemagne and to Arno, in which he urges 

forcible j.|^^^ ^j^^ ^^^ q£ forcc should be discarded and that 

sions, gentler means of conversion should be employed. In 

writing to Arno, who had asked his advice in view of 
his proposed missionary labours amongst the Huns, he 
urged the need of adapting Christian teaching and dis- 
cipline to the special needs of individuals and races. ^ 
He further insisted that the mere act of baptism could 
not profit unless accompanied by faith,^ and reminded 
him that the repeated lapses of the Saxons ^ were to be 
accounted for by their failure to accept the faith from 
the heart. He urged that inasmuch as man is endowed 
with understanding he cannot be compelled to 
believe, but must be instructed and led by preaching 
to an acknowledgment of the truth. Special prayer 
should be offered on behalf of missionary work, for " of 
what use is the tongue of a teacher if divine grace has 
not penetrated the heart of the hearer, ... for that 
which a priest does visibly in the body by means of 
water, this the Holy Spirit does invisibly in the soul by 
means of faith." ^ In his letters to the Emperor after 

^ Ep. xxxvi. Migne, P. L. c. ^ "Idcirco misera Saxorum gens 

col. 192. toties baptismi perdidit sacramentum 

2 "Absque fide quid proficit bap- quia nunquam fidei fundamentum 

tisma ? . . . impelli potest homo ad habuit in corde." Ibid. col. 194. 

baptismum sed non ad fidem." Ibid. ^ Ep. xxxvi. 


the subjugation of the Huns, Alcuin says, " Now let 
your most wise and God-pleasing piety provide for the 
new people pious preachers of honest life, learned in 
the knowledge of the holy faith, imbued with evangelical 
precepts, intent also in their preaching of the word of 
God on the example of the holy Apostles, who were 
wont to minister milk — ^that is, gentle precepts, to their 
hearers who were beginners in the faith." ^ In the 
same letter he strongly advises the Emperor not to and the 
impose the payment of tithes upon the Huns and toti^n*of 
abstain from having adults among them baptized until *^^*^®®' 
they have been carefully taught, " lest the washing by 
holy baptism of the body profit nothing." In sup- 
port of his argument he quotes statements by Jerome ^ 
and by Augustine.^ 

In 884 the Magyars, who were descendants of the The 
ancient Scythians, appeared in Europe. In 889 theyov^ermr 
crossed the Carpathians and by 895 they had overrun ^9^^*^^' 
the whole of Hungary and Transylvania. To-day they 
form rather less than half the population of Hungary. 

During the first half of the tenth century the Magyars 
invaded Saxony, Thuringia, Bavaria and north Italy. 
They were checked by the German king Henry the 
Fowler near Merseburg in 933 and suffered a severe 
defeat at the hands of Otto near Augsburg in 955, when 
nearly their whole army, numbering 40,000, was anni- 
hilated. In 970 they suffered a final defeat near 
Arcadiopolis, after which they settled down to a life 
of peace. 

^ Ep. xxxiii. Migne, P. L. c. anima fidei susceperit veritatem." 

col. 187. Comm. on St. Matt xxviii. 19. 

2 " Non potest fieri ut corpus bap- » De catechizandis rvdihua, cap. 

tismi capiat sacramentum nisi ante xvii. 


Little is known of the subsequent preaching of Chris- 
tianity in Hungary. Numerous Christian captives 
had been brought to Hungary as a result of the long 
First protracted wars and it was probably from these that 
ChrlJ^^ the Magyars gained their first knowledge of the Christian 
*^^^^- faith. 

Baptism The first Christians of whom any satisfactory record 

sudesand cxists wcrc the two Hungarian princes Bulosudes and 

9/9^^' Gylas from Transylvania who visited Constantinople 

in 949 on a political errand and were there baptized 

as Christians. Bulosudes, on his return to his own 

country, relapsed into heathenism and persecuted his 

Christian subjects, but Gylas (who succeeded him as 

ruler of Transylvania) brought back with him a monk 

named Hierotheos as a missionary bishop, and continued 

to profess his new faith, though he does not appear to 

have made any serious effort to convert his subjects.^ 

Duke Geyza (or Geisa), who became the ruler of Hungary 

in 972 and reigned till 997, had been baptized, and 

married Sarolta, the Christian daughter of Gylas of 


Letter About the year 971 Pilgrim the bishop of Passau (971- 

Piigr^m, 991) visited Hungary, and in 974 he wrote a letter to Pope 

^^^' Benedict VT giving an account of the welcome which 

he had received and of the spread of the Christian faith. 

Neander suggests that his report to the Pope was 

much more optimistic than the facts warranted and that 

he was anxious to impress upon him that the time 

had come to make the see of Lorch independent of the 

archiepiscopal see of Salzburg.^ His report, however, 

1 See Cedreni, Annates, f. 524. 
ft ^ History of the Christian Religion and Church, vi. 82. 

A V STRIA 305 

even if unduly optimistic, is of considerable historical 
value. After referring to the terror which the Hun- 
garians had previously inspired and which had pre- 
vented missionary work being done amongst them, 
he speaks of the great change that had occurred and 
of the welcome which he and the missionaries whom he 
had been able to send had received. So great had been 
their success that " about five thousand of the Hun- 
garians of noble birth of either sex had been imbued 
with the catholic faith and washed with the sacred 
ablution." Christians also, he goes on to say, " who 
had been brought thither as captives from every part 
of the world and who had not before been permitted 
to consecrate their offspring to God (in baptism) 
except in secret, now bring them without fear to be 
baptized, and all congratulate them as though they 
had been brought back, after a long wandering, to their 
own country, because they dare to build places of 
prayer in Christian fashion. ... So great is the con- 
cord which exists between pagans and Christians and 
so great is their mutual familiarity that the prophecy 
of Isaiah appears to be fulfilled, ' The wolf and the lamb 
shall feed together ; the Hon and the ox shall eat grass 
(paleas).' Thus it has come about that nearly the 
whole Hungarian nation is ready to receive the holy 
faith, and the other Slavonic provinces are prepared to 
believe. The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers 
are few." ^ 

The statement made by Bishop Pilgrim that the 
Hungarians generally were ready to adopt the Christian 

^ Mansi, Concilia^ xix. 49. This instead of Benedict VI. See ibid. p. 
letter was formerly supposed to have 53. 
been addressed to Benedict VII 


faith, must certainly have been exaggerated, as it con- 
flicts with other evidence. One of the missionaries 
Wuifgang, sent by Pilgrim was Wulfgang, a monk belonging to 
Regens- the monastery of Einsiedeln (Notre-Dame-des-Ermites) 
"^^' in Switzerland, who afterwards became bishop of 

Visit of In 994 Adalbert bishop of Prague, who had failed to 
bert, 994. sec much rcsult from his labours in Bohemia, visited 
Hungary, where he was well received. We have 
already noted that during the year or more which he 
spent in this country he baptized Vayik the son of the 
Duke Geyza (Geisa), who received the name of Stephen. 
His baptism, at which the Emperor Otto was present, 
marked a turning-point in the history of the introduc- 
tion of Christianity into Hungary, though it was not 
till the death of Geyza, which occurred in 997, that 
any real progress was achieved. Geyza had tolerated, 
if he had not actually encouraged, paganism, and 
Adalbert's biographer refers to the Christianity w^hich 
prevailed at the Hungarian court as " languid and luke- 
warm and worse than barbarism." ^ 
King In 997 Stephen,^ who married a Bavarian princess 

called Gisella, became king of Hungary and in his 
efforts to promote the spread of Christianity he at once 
found himself opposed by a strong heathen party. A 
Hungarian prince named Kupan, who was the leader 
of the heathen party, disputed Stephen's possession of 
the throne, but was himself killed, and his adherents 

^ Referring to Adalbert's work he ^ gee Vita S. Stephani, Acta SS., 

writes : — " quibus (Hungaris) ab Sep. 2. The hfe, which is by the 

errore suo parum mutatis umbram Hungarian Bishop Carthwig, was 

Christianitatis impressit." Acta SS., written many years after the death 

Ap. 22, c. vi. 16 ; cf. also GJironicon of Stephen. 
Thietmari, lib. viii. 



were scattered by Stephen. In 1002 Gyula II the 
duke of Transylvania, who was supported by the 
Mohammedan Petchenegs Hving in Rumania, made a 
further attempt to re-estabhsh paganism, but he suffered 
defeat, and Stephen eventually introduced Christia- 
nity into his territories and into parts of Wallachia. 
King Stephen, or St. Stephen as he was subsequently 
designated, brought to Hungary a large number of 
foreign missionaries, who were for the most part either 
Germans or Italians, and, partly by their efforts, he 
succeeded in effecting a radical change in the habits 
and customs of the Magyars. " Under him," writes 
Professor Vambery, " and through his exertions the 
Hungarian people became a western nation. Never 
was a change of such magnitude, and we may add such 
a providential change, accomplished in so short a time 
and with so little bloodshed, and with such signal 
success as this remarkable transformation of the Hun- 
garian people. . . . The kingdom of Hungary is called 
the realm of St. Stephen to this day." ^ There is, 
unfortunately, a great lack of contemporary accounts 
of his life such as might have enabled us to gain any ade- 
quate impression of his personality and character .^ Fol- 
lowing the example of his brother-in-law Boleslav of 
Poland he cultivated the friendship of the Pope, and in 
1000 he sent an embassy under the charge of the monk 
Astrik to Sylvester II to plead for his friendship and 
the recognition of his position as king of Hungary. 

^ Hungary in Ancient^ Mediaeval Zoerard and Benedict, who came 

and Modern Times, by Arminius as missionaries to Hungary. Their 

Vambery, pp. 65 ff. lives are written by Maurus, a con- 

* The Acta 88. (July, vol. iv. 326) temporary, but do not provide much 

include the hves of two Polish monks, information. 


The Pope The Pope conferred upon him and his successors the 
titTe^of right to call themselves " apostohc kings " and presented 
toUc ^^ him with a crown which still forms part of the Hungarian 
kings." crown. The letter addressed to Stephen by Sylvester 
suggests the close relationships that were established 
at this time and have ever since been maintained 
between the Papacy and the rulers of Hungary. In 
the course of the letter the Pope writes : ^ "My glorious 
son, all that which thou hast desired of us and of the 
apostolic see, the crown, the royal title, the metro- 
politan see at Gran (Strigoniensis) and the other bishop- 
rics we joyfully allow and grant thee by the authority 
derived from Almighty God and Saint Peter and Saint 
Paul, together with the apostohc and our own bene- 
diction. . . . And as thy highness did not disdain to 
undertake the apostohc office of proclaiming and 
spreading the faith of Christ, ... we feel moved to 
confer besides upon thy excellency and, out of regard 
for thy merits, upon thy heirs and lawful successors 
who may have been approved by the apostolic see, 
this especial privilege : we permit, desire and request 
that as thou and thy successors will be crowned with 
the crown we send thee, the wearing of the cross may 
serve thee and them as an apostolic token, even so that, 
according to the teachings of God's mercy, thou and they 
may direct and order in our and our successor's place 
and stead the present and future churches of thy 
Founda- To the bishoprics and monasteries which he founded 
Mshoprics Stephen gave rich endowments, the greater part of 
astoi^r" which are still held by their occupants. 

1 Epp. Sylvester II. See Migne, cxxxix. coL 274 f. 

A U STRIA 309 

Amongst other of his reUgious activities he promoted 
pilgrimages to Jerusalem and built, both in that city 
and in Rome, a hostel for the benefit of Hungarian 
pilgrims. He died in 1038 and was succeeded by Peter 
whose misrule provoked his subjects to revolt. The 
revolt developed into an attack not only upon Peter 
but upon the supporters of the Christian religion and Pagan 
many churches and monasteries were reduced to ruins, ''^^^^^^p^- 
Peter was captured and blinded, and Andrew, who had 
married a daughter of the prince of Kiev, was made 
king in his stead (1046-1061). As soon as he was 
established on the throne he turned his arms against 
his pagan supporters and became a supporter of 

During the reign of Bela (1061-3), who succeeded him, 
yet another attempt was made by the pagan party, the 
leader of which was James the son of Vatha, to gain 
control of the country, but the rising was speedily 
suppressed. Paganism lingered on for some time 
afterwards and altars were erected from time to time 
in secret groves, but the penalties enacted against 
idolatry by the kings Ladislaus (1077-95) and Coloman 
(1095-1114) eventually resulted in its suppression. Suppres- 
Ladislaus added Croatia (1089) to the kingdom of JaganL. 
Hungary, and having founded the bishopric of Agram 
he helped to spread the Christian faith amongst the 

When Pope Gregory VII, who desired to obtain his 
support in his contest with Germany, reminded him that 
the Hungarian kings had obtained their crown from 
one of his predecessors,^ Ladislaus repKed that ''he 

1 Epf. Gregorii VII, lib. vi. 29. Migne, cxlviii, col. 534 f. 


was ready to obey with filial submission and with his 
whole heart the Holy See as an ecclesiastical power, 
and his holiness the Pope as his spiritual father, but 
that he would not subordinate the independence of 
his realm to anybody or anything." 
King Coloman did much to promote the social and rehgious 

Coioman. ^^^.^^^jj^g ^^f j^^g countrymen. A striking illustration 
of his enlightenment is afforded by his law forbidding 
the prosecution of witches, which runs, " Of witches, 
who do not exist at all, no mention shall be made." 
Mongol In 1241 the Mongols crossed the Carpathians and 
mL devastated the greater part of Hungary with fire and 
sword, and the Christian churches were reduced to 
smouldering ruins. The desolation wrought by the 
Mongol raid is thus referred to by an eye-witness : 
" Here and there a tower half-burnt and blackened by 
smoke, rearing its head towards the sky, like a mourning 
flag over a funereal monument, indicated the direction 
in which they were to advance. The highways were 
overgrown with grass, the fields white with bleaching 
bones, and not a hving soul came out to meet them. 
And the deeper they penetrated into the land the more 
terrible became the sights they saw. When at last 
those who survived crept forth from their hiding-places, 
half of them fell victims to wild animals, starvation 
and pestilence. . . . The famine assumed such frightful 
proportions that starving people in their frenzy kiUed 
each other and it happened that men would bring to 
market human flesh for sale. Since the birth of 
Christ no country has ever been overwhelmed by such 
misery." ^ 

1 Quoted by Prof. Vamb6ry in The Story of Hungary, pp. 141 f. 


The Mongol armies were never defeated in Hungary, 
but, on hearing of the death of Oktai the great Khan, 
their leader, Batu Khan, hastened back to the East 
in order to be present at the election of a new Khan, 
and the country was left desolate but free. 



Switzer- The whole of the territory now included in Switzerland 
oTthe^^^ came under the control of the Romans about a.d. 15. 
f^^^^^ After the reorganization of the Roman provinces by 
A.D. 15. Diocletian the province of Rhaetia and the district of 
the '' Alpes Penninae " were left to form a separate 
province, whilst the north-western part of the country 
was included in the province of Maxima Sequanorum, 
the south-western part in the Provincia Viennensis, 
and the southern part became a province of northern 
Italy. At the beginning of the sixth century all Swit- 
Subjected zerland north of the Alps became subject to the Prankish 
ish Mngs. kings. It is unnecessary to refer to the subsequent poli- 
tical changes which befell the districts that we now 
know as Switzerland, but it is interesting to recall the 
fact that its existence as a separate country dates from 
1499. Switzerland as we now know it includes terri- 
tory that formerly constituted parts of Germany, Italy, 
and Burgundy, and details relating to missionary 
'work additional to those now to be given will be found 
under the history of the spread of Christianity in these 
First It is probable that Christian missionaries laboured 

mission- iu Switzerland during the third century, but the forma- 
tion of the earliest Swiss dioceses dates from the fourth 



century. Missionaries reached Switzerland by three 
different routes, from Gaul by Geneva and the valley 
of the Rhone ; from Italy over the Great St. Bernard, 
by which they would reach the Helvetii of Western 
Switzerland ; and by the way of the Grisons, by which 
they would reach the Rhaetii of Eastern Switzerland. 
In the fourth century were founded the bishoprics of Fourth 
Martigny (Octodurum), the site of which was subse- biSiop^ 
quently transferred to Sion, and of Geneva in the"''^ 
territory of the AUobroges ; in western and central 
Switzerland there was a bishop of the Helvetii at 
Avenches (Aventicum), the site of which bishopric was 
transferred to Lausanne at the end of the sixth, or early 
in the seventh, century, when the northern part of the 
bishopric was assigned to the diocese of Constance. 
The diocese of Basle was formed probably a little later 
in the Civitas Rauracorum. In the fifth century the 
Biu'gundians,^ who had become Arians, occupied a The Bur- 
large part of western Switzerland. Early in the sixth ^"^ ^^^^ 
century, when King Sigismund became a Cathohc 
Christian, his example was generally followed by the 
Burgundians. From 534 the territory of the Bur- 
gundians became subject to the Franks. The Ale- The 
manni whilst still heathen migrated into north and 
north-eastern Switzerland. After the Franks had con- 
quered the Alemanni in 496 Irish missionaries began 
to labour amongst them, and in the sixth century the 
diocese of Constance was founded for the Alemanni. 
Columbanus and Gall laboiu'ed on the shores of Lake Coium- 
Constance and Lake Zurich. When in 613 Columbanus 
went to Italy Gall remained behind to carry on his 

^ For account of the conversion of the Burgundians see above, p. 187. 


work, and founded the monastery afterwards known 
as the abbey of St. Gall. 

We have already referred to the work of Columbanus 
amongst the Franks (see above, p. 189 ff.) . When he was 
driven away from Luxeuil by Brunichildis he refused 
the invitation of the king of Neustria to settle in his 
dominions and was persuaded by Theudebert II, 
whom he visited at Metz in 610 a.d., to attempt the 
conversion of the Alemanni. Accompanied by a few 
disciples who had followed him from Luxeuil he em- 
barked on the Rhine and, having reached Lake Zurich, 
he stayed for awhile at Tuggen at the head of the lake. 
His chief assistant was a fellow-countryman of his own 
named Gall, who was able to preach in the language 
of the Alemanni as well as in Latin.^ The Irish im- 
petuosity of himself and his companions added to the 
difficulties with which they had to contend in dealing 
with the heathen Alemanni and Suevi, and prevented 
them from making any attempts to win their affec- 
tions or to soften the rigour of their preaching by a 
display of sympathy. 
Hisrejec- When, for example, the Alemanni, who lived on the 

tionbythe . i i i i • • 

Alemanni. Upper Khme, produccd a barrel contaimng ten gallons 
of beer which they proposed to drink in his honour, 
Columbanus, if we may believe the statement made 
by his biographer, breathed upon the barrel, with the 
result that it forthwith burst asunder with a loud 
crash.2 It is hardly to be wondered at that the Ale- 
manni rejected his message and forced the missionaries 
to depart. Leaving the Lake of Zurich, they settled 

^ *'Non solum Latini sed etiam parvam habebat." 
barbaric! sermonis cognitionem non ^ Vita, cap. xxvi. 


at Bregenz, where they found a Christian chapel that He settles 
had been dedicated to St. Aureha, to the ruined walls Bregenz. 
of which were fixed three brazen images. " These 
images," said the people, " are our ancient gods, by 
whose help and comfort we have been preserved alive 
to this day." Gall, the companion of Columbanus, 
who was able to speak to the people in their own tongue, 
urged them to abandon the worship of these idols and 
to serve the true God. Then in the sight of all Colum- 
banus seized the idols, battered them into fragments 
and threw the pieces into the lake. The people offered 
no active opposition and shortly afterwards Colum- 
banus and his companions, having sprinkled the build- 
ing with holy water and having chanted a psalm, 
dedicated it afresh to God and to St. Aiu*elia. 

The fact that this church or oratory had previously Hostility 
been dedicated to St. Aurelia suggests that they were people. 
not the first to act as missionaries in that district. The 
hostility of the inhabitants, which had been aroused 
by the forcible destruction of their idols, resulted in 
the murder of two of the missionaries who were waylaid 
and killed in an ambuscade, whereupon Columbanus 
determined to seek once again a new sphere of work. 
" We have found," he said, '' a golden cup, but it is 
full of poisonous serpents. The God whom we serve 
will lead us elsewhere." ^ His determination to leave 
Bregenz was strengthened by the news which reached 
him of the death of Theudebert. The well-known St. Gall on 
legend relating to the conversation that Gall is said to stance. °^ 
have overheard between the demon of the mountains 

^ "invenimus concham auream, sed venenatis serpentibus plenam." Vita 
Oalliy c. 8, 9. 


and the demon of the waters, which is recorded by his 
biographer, is worth recording as it helps us to appre- 
ciate the reaHty and intensity of the struggle which the 
missionaries of this period believed themselves to be 
waging against the spiritual powers of evil, and their 
belief in the omnipotent power of prayer. While Gall 
was engaged one night in fishing on Lake Constance 
" he heard the demon of the mountain call to the 
demon of the waters. ' Here I am,' answered the 
latter. ' Arise, then,' said the first, ' and help me 
to chase away the strangers who have expelled me from 
my temple ; it will require us both to drive them 
away.' ' What good should we do ? ' answered the 
demon of the waters, ' here is one of them by the 
waterside whose nets I have tried to break but I have 
never succeeded. He prays continually and never 
sleeps. It will be labour in vain ; we shall make nothing 
of it.' Then Gall made the sign of the cross and said 
to them, ' In the name of Jesus Christ I command you 
to leave these regions without daring to injure any- 
one.' He then hastened to land and awoke the abbot, 
who immediately rang the bells for nocturnal service, 
but before the first psalm had been intoned they heard 
the yells of the demons echoing from the tops of the 
surrounding hills, at first with fury, then losing them- 
selves in the distance, and dying away like the confused 
voices of a routed army." ^ 
Departure Prior to the departure of Columbanus from Bregenz, 
banus!^"^ and while he was meditating missionary work amongst 
the Slavonic tribes to the north of Venetia, an angel 
appeared to him in a dream and, holding before him a 

^ See Vita 8. Oalli, c. 4, 6, 7. Montalembert, Monks of the West, ii. 431. 


map of the world, indicated to him that Italy was to be 
the scene of his future labours.^ After the battle of 
Tolbiac (613) and the subsequent death of Theudebert 
his last link of connection with Gaul was severed, and 
he proceeded to carry out the intimation conveyed to 
him in his dream.^ 

On the departure of Columbanus for Italy Sigisbert, sigisbert 
one of his disciples, built for himself a cell near thesentis. 
soiKce of the Rhine which afterwards developed into 
the monastery of Dissentis. " Thus," writes Montalem- 
bert, " was won and sanctified, from its very source, 
that Rhine whose waters were to bathe so many illus- 
trious monastic sanctuaries."^ Whilst Sigisbert was 
building his cell he attempted to cut down an oak that 
was held sacred by the pagans, one of whom aimed an 
axe at his head. His assailant was, however, disarmed 
when Sigisbert made the sign of the cross, and the work 
of preaching and conversion proceeded without further 

Gall is said to have refused the bishopric of Constance 
offered him by the duke of the Alemanni, and the ab- 
bacy of Luxeuil, which a deputation of six Irish monks 
from this monastery besought him to accept. When Death of 
he died in 646 ^ the whole of the country inhabited by ele.^^"' 
the Alemanni had become Christian. 

Another missionary named Fridolin,^ who was perhaps Fridoiin. 
a Celt, and who worked amongst the Alemanni and in 
the Black Forest early in the sixth centiu*y, is said to 
have founded monasteries at Sackingen and Basle.® 

^ Vita, cap. xxvi. Rer. Merov. iii. pp. 354 ff. The Hfe 

2 See above, p. 221, in the Acta S8. for March 6 is quite 

3 The Monks of the West, ii. 456. untrustworthy. 

** According tosomeauthorities, 629. ® See Hauck's Kirchengeschichte 

^ See Vita Fridolini, M. Scrip. Deutschlands, i. 340 n. 



The In the times of the Romans the country which now 

constitutes Belgium was included in Gaul and was 
known as Gallia Belgica. Before the Christian era 
the Belgae, a Celtic tribe, by which it was chiefly in- 
habited, had to a large extent driven out the Gauls. 
The Batavi and other tribes of Germanic origin sub- 
sequently invaded the country and during the fifth 
and sixth centuries, when the country was governed 
by the Franks, they formed the chief element of the 
population.^ In later times a number of more or less 
independent duchies were formed and eventually the 
country came under the rule first of Austria and then 
of Spain, becoming an independent country in 1598. 
After being united to Holland in* 1815, Belgium became 
again independent in 1831. 

The Roman province of Belgica Prima included as 
its metropolis the city of Treves, and it is probable 
that from this city came some of the earliest missionaries 

Early to Belgium. The unhistorical traditions relating to 

■ the development of Christianity in the district of 

Treves are worth mentioning, as they at least suggest 

the probability that the Christian faith was preached 

here at a comparatively early date, 

^ The Frisii, who chiefly inhabited Holland, occupied parts of the N.E. 
portion of Belgium. 


Eucharius ^ is said to have been the first bishop to st. Eucha- 
labour in Belgium and to have held the see of Treves ^^^^' 
from 50 to 73. He is alleged to have converted and 
baptized a large number of people, and to have been fol- 
lowed by Valerius, 73-89, and subsequently by Maternus,^ St. 
who is said to have occupied the see for forty years.^ 
Then follows a list of fifteen bishops who are said to 
have been martyred within fifty years. 

Orosius states that the persecution of Nero reached a persecu- 
as far as Belgium, also that the Christians at Treves time^of 
suffered. ^'^^^• 

During the reign of Marcus Aurehus there are said 
to have been many martyrs among the Belgic Christians. 
Piatus (d. circ. 287) is reported to have baptized st. Piatus. 
many thousands and, having evangelized the district 
of Tournai, to have died a martyr's death during the 
reign of Diocletian. The Life in which these traditions 
are preserved is not earlier than the twelfth century.* 
Chrysolius is specially honoured at Comines in Flanders, St. Chry- 
and he and Piatus are regarded as having been the^^ "^ 
apostles of the district round Tournai.^ He is said 

^ According to one tradition he Maternus of Cologne early in the 

was present at the Last Supper. fourth century. 

Another tradition speaks of a Bishop ^ Pope Leo IX (1049-54), after re- 

Eucharius of Treves who is said to f erring to these three bishops, wrote, 

have lived about 362 and to have " These are they, O most dear Belgian 
been a brother of Eliphius who was fatherland, through whom the Gospel 

martyred at Toul in the time of of Christ shone upon thee." 
Julian. Gregory of Tours refers * It was composed by one of the 

to Eucharius as the guardian saint clergy attached to the collegiate 

of Treves. See Fito, Migne P. L. church of Seclin. See also references 

Ixxi. col. 1082. to Piatus in the Vita Eleutherii by 

2 A late tradition asserts that he Guibertus, Migne, P. L. Ixv. col. 63. 
was the son of the widow of Nain. ^ See Acta Sanctorum for Feb. 7, 

The legend relating to Maternus "cum Piato presbytero ut episcopus 

does not date back before the ninth honoratur, quia cum eo fuit Apos- 

century. There was a Bishop tolus Tornacensium. " 

320 THE CON VERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xii. 

to have belonged to the royal family of Armenia, and 
to have been martyred in 302. Yet another saint who 

St. is said to have been a companion of Piatus is Eugenius 

(or Hubertus). According to a statement in Surius ^ 
he belonged to an illustrious family in Rome and went 
as a missionary to Gaul in the reign of Diocletian. 
Other names of reputed missionaries of about the same 
period are Quentin, Lucius, Ruffinus and Valerius. 

St. Martin Martin, who, according to a statement of Placentius, 

Tongres. was the seveuth bishop of Tongres, is regarded as the 
apostle of Hesbaye, which comprised the districts round 
Louvain, Liege and Aerschot. 

St- Servatius was bishop of Tongres when a pagan army 

Servatius. i o ./ 

from the east invaded Belgium and Gaul. With 
reference to him Gregory of Tours writes : " There was 
at this time a bishop of great sanctity, Arvatius (Ser- 
vatius), who gave up his time to watching and fasting, 
and with many and frequent tears besought God " that 
the threatened calamity might be averted. When, 
however, he perceived '^ that on account of the sins of 
the people this boon had not been granted," he visited 
Rome in order to secure the help of St. Peter. There 
at the tomb of the Apostle it was revealed to him that, 
though his prayer would not be granted, he would be 
taken away from the evils to come. Returning to 
Tongres he bade farewell to his people, who entreated 
him not to leave them, and retired to Maestricht, 
where he died soon afterwards .^ It is uncertain whether 
this Servatius is to be identified with a bishop of the 
same name who was present at the councils of Sardica 

1 Tom. v., Oct. 25. 

2 Historia Francorum, ii. 5. See Migne, P. L. Ixxi., col. 197. 


(343 or 344) and Rimini (359). Athanasius visited 
Treves three times and on one occasion spent two and 
a half years there, teaching and confirming the faith of 
the Christians. Servatius is said to have visited him 
at Treves. According to a late tradition Martin of 
Tours preached the Christian faith in Tournai.^ 

In 396 Victricius archbishop of Rouen travelled as victricius 
far as the country of the Frisians, and converted many tollt^^^ 
of the inhabitants of Tournai. St. Paulinus of Nola, ^^^i^^- 
writing to Victricius, expressed his pleasure on hearing 
of his successful missionary visit to the Morini, who 
inhabited " the extreme borders of the world beaten 
by the waves of a barbaric ocean." ^ He says that 
^ instead of districts frequented by barbarians and 
robbers, choirs of angelic men throng the churches 
and monasteries " and make the isles and depths of 
the forests re-echo with their sacred harmonies.^ 

Early in the fifth century the development of Chris- invasion 
tianity in Belgium was interrupted by the invasion Huns^. 
of Huns, Vandals and other tribes who in 407 crossed 
the Rhine and devastated the land, destroying the 
churches and killing or reducing to slavery its inhabi- 
tants. Jerome, in a letter* written in 409, refers to 
the cities destroyed by these marauders in Belgium 
and France, specially mentioning Tournai, Therouanne, 
Rheims, Arras and Amiens. The final result was that a pagan 
a large part of the work of the Christian missionaries ^^^^ ^^^ 
had to be done over again, as was the case in England 

^ See Cousin, Histoire de Tournai/ ^ in the neighbourhood of Ostend. 

i. 177 ff. See also Cousin, Histoire de Tournay 

2 Paulini Nolani Episcopi, Ep. i. 183 f. 

xviii. See Migne, P. L. Ixi. col. 259. ^ j^. 

The Morini inhabited the district * Ep. ad Ageruchiam. 


after the invasion by the Saxons. Remigius bishop 
of Rheims, after baptizing Clovis and his warriors on 
Christmas Day 496, sent Vedast to Arras and Antimond 
and Athalbert to Therouanne, but for at least a century 
no extensive missionary operations were carried on 
within the hmits of what is now Belgium. 

St. Eieu- Eleutherius/ who is commemorated as the third 

To^lrnai. bishop of Toumai, is said to have been born in 456. 
While he was a young man, the Franks, who had not 
yet been converted, raised a persecution and expelled 
the Christians from the city, whereupon Eleutherius 
and other Christians settled at a place called Blandinium 
(now Ghent), of which Theodoras became bishop. Eleu- 
therius, who was his successor, became bishop about 
487. His missionary labours and his efforts to protect 
his people against Arian teaching raised him up many 
enemies and he was eventually murdered in 532. He 

Medardus. was succccdcd by Mcdardus, who became bishop of 
Tournai and Noyon ^ in France, and was the means of 
converting many to the Christian faith. He died about 

Lupus. 563. Lupus, who was archbishop of Sens (in France) 
from 609 to 623, preached as a missionary on the banks 
of the Schelde and the Meuse.^ 

The first Christian Church subsequent to the invasion 

of the Huns of which we have any satisfactory know- 

ndus. ledge was founded by Amandus, a native of Aquitaine, 

^ The earliest existing Life, which but on very doubtful evidence, 

dates from the eighth or ninth For various traditions relating to 

century, given in the Acta Sanctorum him see Cousin, H. de T. i. 227, 

for Feb. 3, is overlaid with legend. 237 ff. 

Another Life by Guibertus is given ^ The two dioceses remained united 

in Migne, P. L. Ixv. col. 59 ff. Migne until 1146. 

also gives some discourses which ^ For a legendary biography of 

have been attributed to Eleutherius, Lupus see Acta Sanctorum for Sep. 1. 


who was consecrated as a missionary bishop about 
629. He began his work among the Frisian tribes in 
the neighbourhood of Ghent and Antwerp under the 
patronage of the Frankish king Dagobert I., who had 
conquered the Frisians and Saxons at Wiltaburg 
(afterwards Utrecht) between 622 and 632.i He had 
been authorized by Dagobert to call to his aid Frankish 
soldiers in order that the pagans might be forcibly 
baptized, should they be unwilling to listen to his 
preaching, but it does not appear that this method 
of conversion was at all largely employed. He strove 
rather by redeeming captives from slavery and by 
imparting to them a Christian education to lay a foun- 
dation for subsequent missionary enterprise, and even- 
tually he had the satisfaction of baptizing a number of 
Frisians and of converting several temples into Christian 
churches or monasteries .^ He founded a monastery 
at Ghent which was afterwards called by the name of 
St. Bavon^ and others at Tronchiennes and Renaix. 
By his advice Ida the widow of Pepin built a nunnery ida 
at Nivelles of which her daughter became the abbess. nuTifery 
She secured the assistance of two Irish missionaries, St. ^. „ 
FoUianus (Faelan) and St. Outain (or Ultain), the latter 
of whom became abbot of Peronne and died in 680. 

Amandus having rebuked his patron for the licentious 
life that he was leading, was banished for a time from 

1 See Mabillon, Acta 88. Bened. ssec. i. 324 note. Other missionaries 
"• 681- who are said to have come from 

2 His name was connected with Rome to assist Amandus are Lan- 
several churches and monasteries in doald, Amantius, Adrian, Vincianus 
later times, which were probably and Aldetrude. See Cousin, H. de 
founded by his successors. One T. ii. 18. 

church and two monasteries were ^ g^ Bavon, who is regarded as 

built by him before he left Belgium the patron saint of Ghent, was a 
in 629. See Hauck's Kirch. Deutsch, follower and helper of Amandus, 


Baptism the kingdom, but was recalled in 630, when he baptized 
blr?.^^ Sigebert the infant son of Dagobert. Soon afterwards 
he left Belgium in order to undertake a mission to some 
of the pagan Slavs on the Danube, but, having failed 
to obtain a hearing from them, he returned north, 
and in 646 was appointed as a successor to a bishop of 
Livinusan The uext missionary who is reported to have visited 
bishopr Belgium was an Irish archbishop named Livinus, 
^^^' who is sometimes called the Apostle of Brabant. Leav- 
ing Ireland with three companions in 633, he suffered 
martyrdom amongst the pagan tribes of Brabant and 
Flanders. A biography of him exists which purports 
to have been written by St. Boniface of Mainz,i but it 
was probably not written till the eleventh century and 
is therefore of little historical value. According to this 
biography he worked as a missionary at Holtem near 
Ghent and suffered martyrdom near this place in 656. 
St. The next missionary, whose name we know, was 

^^'^^'' Eligius (St. Eloy) who, after being trained by a gold- 
smith at Limoges, was appointed as superintendent 
of the royal mint under Clothaire II. and was after- 
wards appointed as his treasurer by Dagobert. Whilst 
holding this position he was the means of redeeming 
large numbers of slaves, sometimes a hundred at a time, 
many of whom afterwards became inmates of monas- 
teries. ^ Whilst still a layman he founded the monastery 

1 See Migne, P. L. Ixxxix. col. Romanorum scilicet, Gallorum atque 

871 ff. and Ixxxvii. col. 327-44. Britannorum, necnon et Maurorum, 

^ Ci. Vita Elgii, i. c. 10. "Nonnun- sed prsecipue ex genere Saxonum 

quam vero agmen integrum, et usque qui abunde eo tempore veluti greges 

ad centum animas, cum navi egre- sedibus propriis evulsi in diversa 

derentur, utriusque sexus ex diversis distrahebantur. " 
gentibus venientes pariter liberabat, 


of Solemniac (Solignac) in 632 near Limoges, besides Monas- 
contributing to the erection of numerous churches, ioiem- 
His biographer describes the gardens of this monastery ^^^^• 
as Med with flowers and fruit trees which the monks 
tended under his approving eye.^ Having previously 
been admitted to some of the lower clerical offices, he 
was consecrated in 641 as bishop of Tournai and 
Noyon,2 a diocese that included all the semi-heathen 
districts to the north which were for the most part 
inhabited by Frisians. According to his biographer he a mission- 
induced a large number of Frisians to forsake their Frisians.^ 
idols and to become Christians. He is also credited 
with having worked numerous miracles and with having 
possessed the gift of prophecy. 

His biographer writes : " The peoples of An vers, 
the Frisons and the Sueves and all the barbarians who 
dwelt along the sea-coast . . . amongst whom, as they 
were so remote, no one had preached,^ at first received 
him as an enemy, but . . . little by little by the grace 
of Christ he began to give them the word of God, till 
the greater part of these cruel and barbarous peoples 
put away their idols, and were converted to the true 
God and made subject to Jesus Christ. And so it 
came to pass at length that the whole of this barbarous 
country was enlightened as by the appearance of a 
celestial hght. . . . For even those who, in the be- 

^ Vita, i. c. 16. The only authority vol. 87. Ouen, or Audoenus, origi- 

for the life is the Vita S. Eligii, by nally called Dado, was bishop of 

St. Ouen (Audoenus). The extant Rouen and a contemporary of 

biography is a later work modelled Eligius. The Life of EHgius was 

on the original. It is printed in translated by Charles de Barthelemy. 

D'Ach^ry's Spicelegiumf vol. ii., and Paris, 1847. 

in Surius. The homiUes of St. * Noyon is 67 m. NNE. of Paris. 

Eligius aic given in Migne'd P. L. =^ " praedicationis vomere exararat. " 


ginning, like savage beasts, had wished to tear him in 
pieces, when they saw his goodness and gentleness, 
desired to imitate him." ^ 
Exhorta- From the fragments of his sermons which have been 
ag^nst preserved we see that he had frequent occasion to warn 
servance^s. ^^^ hearer s against the observance of heathen customs. 
Thus he writes : " He is a good Christian who putteth 
not his trust in amulets or inventions of the devil, but 
placeth all his hope in Christ alone. . . . But above 
all things I adjure you not to observe the sacrilegious 
customs of pagans nor to consult in any trial or difficulty 
soothsayers, fortune-tellers or diviners, for he who doeth 
this evil thing forthwith loseth the grace of baptism. 
Let there be amongst you no resorting to auguries, or 
sneezings, or observance of the flight or singing of 
birds, but rather when ye set out on a journey or under- 
take any work sign yourselves in the name of Christ, 
repeat the Creed and the Lord's Prayer with faith and 
devotion, and no enemy shall be able to hurt you. 
No Christian will take note of the day on which he leaves 
home or returns, for all days are made by God. No 
Christian will wait for a particular day or moon before 
commencing any undertaking, nor on the first of January 
will join in foolish or unseemly junketings or frivolity 
or nocturnal reveUings. . . . Let no one regard heaven 
or earth or stars or any creature at all as deserving 
of worship. God alone is to be adored, for He alone 
created and ordained all things." ^ 

In other sermons he portrays graphically the scene 

1 Vita Audoeni, lib. ii. cap. 3; authorship of this sermon is not 
Surius, December 1, vol. vi. p. 709. certain, and has been attributed by 

2 See Vita Eligii, ii. 16; Migne, some to Csesarius of Aries [oh. 642). 
P. L. ixxxvii. col. 528 f. The 


which he anticipates will be enacted at the Day of 
Judgment when those who have despised and rejected 
Christ will be condemned to perdition. 

Remaclus, who succeeded Amandus as bishop of Remacius. 
Maestricht in 650, urged upon King Sigebert that 
idolatry still prevailed in the Ardennes and that an 
effort ought to be made to convert the pagans. The 
king replied, "It is for you to teach us our duty ; it 
is for us to fulfil it. Choose what you please in the 
Ardennes ; my help will not be lacking to you." The 
bishop accordingly built a monastery at Malmedi and 
another at Stavelot. Acting on the suggestion of 
Remacius, Trond, a rich landowner in Hesbaye, built 
a monastery on his estate for clergy who might assist 
the bishop in his missionary efforts.^ 

In 653 Remacius resigned the bishopric and retired 
to one of his monasteries, where he died in 668.^ His 
successor Theodard rebuilt many of the churches in Theodard. 
his diocese that had been destroyed by the pagans. 
He offended some of the lords who had seized property 
belonging to the Church, and whilst on his way to 
complain to the king he was murdered in the forest 
of Biwalt, near Spires, circ, 670.^ 

During the next few years the civil wars that pre- 
vailed, following on the death of Sigebert, greatly 
interfered with the spread of the Christian faith and 
the development of the Church. Lambert, who be- Lambert. 
came bishop of Maestricht about 670, was driven from 

^ This monastery was afterwards monk of Stavelot, is given in the 

known as the abbey of St. Trond. Acta Sanctorum for Sep. 1. 

2 A biography of Remacius, ^ An anonymous biography of 

written about the middle of the the eighth century or later is given 

ninth century by an anonymous in the Actu Sanctorum for Sep. 3. 



[chap. XII. 

his see after the death of Childeric in 673, and for seven 
years he hved as a monk at Stavelot, but in 681 he 
returned to Maestricht. He was a contenaporary of 
Willibrord of Utrecht and shared his missionary labours. 
His diocese included Liege in Belgium. He was mur- 
dered {circ. 708) in church by Dodo, a relative of two 
men who had plundered the church and had themselves 

Hubert, been killed.^ His successor, Hubert, moved the site 
of the see from Maestricht to Liege, but he continued 
to organize and take part in missionary tours in Fries- 
land and in the forests of the Ardennes. He died in 

Rumoid. 728.2 ^ bishop named Rumold, who is referred to 
as bishop of Dublin, is said to have lived at Mechlin 
(Malines) in Belgium and to have been murdered there 
in 775. Several lives of him exist, but they are late 
and quite untrustworthy.^ 

Another missionary saint of about the same 

Gommar. period was Gommar, who is regarded as the patron 
saint of Lierre. Before his ordination he had served 
in the armies of Pepin. According to his biog- 
rapher he suffered much from the ill-temper of his 

In the middle of the ninth century the Northmen 
sailed up the rivers and ravaged the greater part of 

^ The most satisfactory Life is that 
written by Godescalus, a deacon of 
the church at Liege, in the middle 
of the eighth century. He pro- 
fesses to have derived much of his 
information from one of Lambert's 
disciples. It is given in Canisii, 
Lectiones Antique, also in the Acta 
Sanctorum for Sep. 5. 

2 He was a popular hero in the 
Middle Ages and was regarded as 

the patron of hunting and a healer 
of hydrophobia. A brief life of him, 
written by an anonymous disciple 
within twenty years of his death, 
is given in Surius for Nov. 3, vol. vi. 
pp. 50 ff. 

^ See Acta Sanctorum for July 1. 
Dunan, who became bishoj) of Dublin 
about 1035, is described by Irish au- 
thorities as the first bishop. 


Flanders. Liege, Tongres and Therouanne were burnt Devasta- 
by them. Edmond bishop of Tournai was taken wrought 
prisoner and put to death with many of his people in^^*^^^, 
860. Very many monasteries were also destroyed. ^^^ 
The Northmen were attracted by the wealth of the 
monasteries and churches, and were inspired by a bitter 
hatred of Christianity which, they had begun to fear, 
might eventually supplant the worship of their own 
deities. The condition of the Christian Church at Depior- 
this period was deplorable. Heathenism was nomi- o^chrk^^ 
nally extinct, but the Christianity by which it had been ^^^^^^ 
superseded was not worthy of its name. Fleury, 
the historian, says that in the tenth century it was as 
difficult to find a true Christian as it was for Diogenes 
to find an honest man in the open market. At the 
Council of Trosli held in 909 Hervee archbishop of 
Rheims in an address to the assembled bishops, said, 
" Religion appears on the verge of ruin : ^ the whole 
world is delivered to the evil spirit. . . . We do not 
blush to confess it : it is our sins and those of the 
people whom we guard which attract on us cruel 
scourges. The voice of our iniquities has reached to 
heaven . . . and we who are honoured with episcopacy 
— what can they not reproach us with ? Alas we bear 
the name of bishops and we do not fulfil our duties. 
We abandon the ministry of preaching. . . . We leave 
by our silence the flock of the Lord to lose itself and miss 
its way. . . . They call us pastors, how shall we dare 
to appear without our lambs ? " ^ The canons of the 
Council of Trosli mention among other scandals that lay 

* ' ' Oportet . . . Christianae re- ^ Mansi, Cone, xviii. 263 ; Hef ele, 

ligioni jam labanti jamque velut in iv. 723. 
praecipiti vergenti . . . succuratl^." 


abbots lived in monasteries and nunneries with their 
wives and children.^ 
A gradual There is reason to believe that the efforts which the 
ment!^^ archbishop of Rheims made to improve the lives of 
the clergy and their flocks in north-east France and 
Belgium met with a considerable measure of success 
and that a gradual and permanent improvement was 

1 Can. 2. 



The oldest inhabitants of Holland of whom we have The 
any knowledge were apparently of Celtic origin, butf"^'^"^^ 
at the time of Caesar, when the district between the ^^^^^1. 
Rhine and the Scheldt was occupied by the Celtic 
Belgae, the country to the north, comprising the greater 
part of modern Holland, was occupied by the German 
tribes of the Frisians and Batavi. 

During the fifth century the Salian Franks inhabited saiian 
a large portion of Holland, and in the course of the ^^^ ^' 
following century the Saxons occupied the territory Saxons, 
which lay between the Frisians to the north and the 
Franks to the south. In alliance with the Frisians, 
they struggled with varying success against the Frankish 
power for 400 years until the days of Charles the Great. 
Early in the seventh century, when the first Christian 
Church was established in Holland, the Frisii, or Fries- 
landers, held sway not only over modern Friesland but 
over a large part of Holland and of the adjacent dis- 
tricts. They were at this time engaged in constant 
warfare with the Franks. 

Amandus, to whose work in Belgium we have already Amandus, 
referred,^ was appointed bishop of Maestricht in 646, Maes- 
after returning from his mission to the pagan Slavs on *^^^^*- 

1 See above, p. 322. 



the Danube. His work at Maestricht met with Uttle 

success, as his efforts to introduce disciphne amongst 

the clergy of the diocese rendered him so unpopular that, 

despite the protest of Pope Martin I, he withdrew from 

his post and spent his remaining years, till his death in 

661, in superintending the monasteries which he had 

himself established. Reference has already been made 

to the work of the next three bishops of Maestricht, 

viz. Remaclus, Theodard and Lambert, who laboured 

for the most part within the limits of Belgium, 

Visit of In 678 Wilfrid, who was flying from England in order 

678. ' to appeal to the Pope against the action of Archbishop 

Theodore, was shipwrecked on the coast of Friesland. 

King Aldgis (Adalgisus) and his subjects, who were 

pagans, showed him much kindness and in return he 

stayed to preach to them the Christian faith. He 

remained with them a whole winter and as a result of 

his preaching nearly all the chiefs and many thousands 

of their people were baptized. At the end of the winter 

Aldgis received a letter from Ebroin the ruler of Neustria 

and Burgundy offering him a bushel of gold if he would 

deliver Wilfrid alive or dead into his hands, but the 

king, after reading the letter aloud to Wilfrid, tore it 

up and threw the pieces into the fire. Soon afterwards 

Wilfrid continued his journey to Rome through Aust- 

rasia, the king of which, Dagobert IT, implored him 

in vain to become bishop of Strasburg. On the death 

of Aldgis, his successor Radbod restored paganism and 

the missionary work accomplished by Wilfrid was for 

the time undone. 

Egbert of In 690 a Northumbrian of noble birth named Egbert, 

bria. who had lived for many years in an Irish monastery, 


determined to devote himself to the preaching of the 
Gospel to the Frisians, or other heathen on the con- 
tinent who had not yet been evangelized.^ In spite 
of a vision, which he interpreted as a warning against 
making the attempt, he prepared to start with a band 
of fellow-workers, but the ship in which he was about 
to sail having been wrecked, he eventually remained 
in Ireland. One of his companions Wigbert, who wigbert. 
succeeded in reaching Frisia, returned after two years, 
having failed to make any impression upon Radbod or 
his people. Bede writes concerning him : " He was 
remarkable for his contempt of the world and his skill 
in learning . . . but he did not find any fruit of so 
great labour among his barbarous hearers. Then 
returning to the place of his chosen banishment, he 
began in his accustomed silence to give his time to the 
Lord, and since he had not been able to benefit foreigners 
with regard to teaching them the faith, his care was 
to benefit more fully his own people by examples of 
virtues." ^ 

In 692 WilUbrord ^ a native of Northumbria, who wiiii- 
had been trained in Wilfrid's monastery at Ripon and 
afterwards for twelve years under Egbert in Ireland, was 
persuaded by the latter to undertake the work which 
he had himself desired to attempt. Having set sail 
with eleven companions he was welcomed by Pepin 

^ Cf. Bede, v. 9, " proposuit . . . Stephen (see Migne, P. L. Ixxxix. 

aliquibus eorum quae nondum audie- col. 787), Bede {H. E. v. 10, 11) 

rant gentibus evangelizando com- and two lives written by Alcuin, one 

mittere . . . sunt autem Fresones, in prose (see Migne, P. L. cl. col. 693 

Rugini, Dani, Hunni, antiqui Sax- ff.) and one in verse. His Homilies 

ones, Boructuarii.*' are given in Migne, P. L. Ixxxvii. 

2 H. E. v. 9. The life by Alcuin includes a long 

* The chief authorities for his Ufe list of miracles which he ascribes to 

are a letter from St. Boniface to Pope WilUbrord. 

334 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xiii. 

in that part of Friesland which he had recently con- 
quered from Radbod and added to Prankish territory. 
Bede, speaking of the beginnings of their work, refers 
to Pepin as " assisting them with his imperial authority, 
lest anyone should offer any hindrance to their preaching, 
and exalting with many benefits those who were willing 
to receive the faith : whence it came to pass that, by 
the assistance of Divine grace, they in a short time 
converted many from idolatry to the faith of Christ." ^ 
Soon after starting his missionary labours he visited 
Rome,2 one of his objects being to secure a supply of 
relics which he might place in heathen temples when 
they were converted into Christian churches.^ Pour 
years later he revisited Rome at Pepin's request in 
order that he might be consecrated as a bishop, and 
returned as archbishop of Wiltaburg or Utrecht ^ (the 
Mission of Roman Trajectum). About the same time one of his 
to the companions named Suidbert ^ was consecrated as a 
bishop by Wilfrid in England (693), and started a 
mission amongst the Boructuarii, who lived between 
the Ems and the Yssel, " many of whom he brought 
into the way of truth " by his preaching.^ When, a 
little later, Suidbert was driven away by an irruption 
of Saxons, Pepin, at the request of his wife Blithryda, 
gave him the island of Kaiserswerth below Cologne, on 

1 H. E. V. 10. ficus " [H. E. V. 20). 

2 He was accompanied on his ^ See Bede, H. E. v. 11. 
journey to Rome by Acca who after * According to Bede Utrecht was 
a short stay in Friesland returned to given to WiUibrord by Pepin, but 
England and became bishop of according to Alcuin it was given to 
Hexham. Bede describes Acca as a him by Charles Martel. 
most expert singer, cantator peritissi- ^ The Vita Suitherti given by Surius 
mus {H. E. V. 21). In another place (March 1) is probably of the twelfth 
he refers to him as " vir strenuissimus century, 
et coram Deo et hominibus magni- ^ See Bede, H. E. v. 11. 



which he established a monastery and where he died 
in 713. 

" The Church in Holland," says a modern writer, 
" owes its origin to the Saxon missionaries from England, 
and the cause of their success it is not difficult to de- 
termine. They came not to strangers, nor as victors, 
but to brothers who spoke a similar language and had 
preserved the traditions of their common ancestry. 
The Benedictine rule of the Saxon monks, more practical 
and less austere than that of the disciples of S. Columba 
, . . was better suited to the freedom-loving Frisians. 
Hence the English Saxons succeeded where S. Eloi 
and others had failed." ^ 

About this time, says Bede, " Two presbyters of The two 
the nation of the Angles, who for a long time had lived ^^'^^^^^• 
abroad in Ireland for the sake of the eternal country, 
came to the province of the ancient Saxons to try 
whether they could by preaching there bring over some 
to Christ." The name of both was Hewald, one being 
called Dark Hewald and the other Light Hewald. 
The people amongst whom they first stayed, fearing 
lest their chief should be induced by them to change 
his ancestral religion, murdered both the missionaries 
and threw their bodies into the Rhine. 

After Radbod had been defeated by Pepin in 697 
Willibrord appealed to him to accept the Christian 
faith, but, though he allowed missionary work to be 
carried on in his territory, he would not himself become 
a Christian.^ 

Soon afterwards WiUibrord set out for Denmark, 

^ p. H. Ditchfield, The Church in ^ Alcuin says of him, *'nullis vitse 

the Netherlands, p. 50. fomentissaxeum ejusemoUiripotuit." 

336 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xtii. 

Willi- hoping to be able to found a Christian mission in that 
visit to country, but the opposition of the chief, Ongend,^ forced 
Denmark, j^-^^ ^^ retire. Bcforc doing so he bought thirty boys 
with the object of taking them back with him to Utrecht 
to educate as future missionaries to their fellow-country- 
men. Fearful lest he should be attacked, he baptized 
the boys in the course of his journey home so as to 
ensure their salvation.^ 
His visit On his way back to Utrecht he was forced by a storm 
1^11(1.^^^^ to land on Fositesland (Heligoland), the pagan in- 
habitants of which received him with ill- disguised 
hostility. Their island was regarded by them as so 
sacred that it was forbidden to touch any animal in 
it or to drink of its holy well except in reverent silence. 
Willibrord, however, being either ignorant of their 
superstitions or unwilling to pay regard to them, killed 
three of their cattle in order to provide food for his party 
and baptized three men in their sacred spring. The 
inhabitants of the island expected that their god would 
instantly avenge these outrages on his dignity, and 
when he failed to do so reported what had happened 
to Duke Radbod. The latter decided that one of 
Willibrord' s party must die in order to appease the 
anger of the god Fosite whom he had insulted, and one 
was eventually selected by lot and executed. When 
Willibrord was asked by Radbod why he had acted as 
he had done, he repHed : " It is not a god, king, 
whom thou worshippest, but a devil who has seduced 
thee into fatal error. For there is no other but one God, 
who made the heaven, the earth, and all things that are 

1 According to Alcuin he was " f era p. 699, c. 9, " volens antiqui hostis 
crudelior et omni lapide durior." prae venire insidias et Domini sacra- 

2 See Alcuin's Life, Migne, cl. mentis animas munire acquisilas." 


therein. He who worships this God with true faith 
shall receive eternal life. I am His servant, and I testify 
unto thee this day, that thou must abandon these 
ancient vanities which thy fathers worshipped, and 
believe in one God almighty, and be baptized in the 
fount of life, and wash away all thy sins, and, abjuring 
thy iniquities and evil-doing, become henceforth a new 
man and walk in sobriety, justice and sanctity. If 
thou doest this, thou shalt enjoy eternal life with God 
and His saints, but if thou despisest me, who declare 
unto thee the way of salvation, know assuredly that 
thou shalt suffer eternal punishment and infernal fire 
with the devil whom thou obeyest." ^ The king, cowed 
by the bold words of the missionary, did him no harm, 
but sent him back with an escort to Pepin. 

On the death of Pepin, his son, Charles Martel, who Assistance 
succeeded him, completed the conquest of Radbod, f^om^^ 
and added Frisia to his dominions. From him Willi- ^^^^^^f 
brord received encouragement and assistance in his 
missionary campaign ^ and during his later years his 
work prospered greatly and churches and monasteries 
were erected in many different places. 

In 731 Bede wrote, " Vilbrord (Willibrord) is still 
living, being now venerable by reason of his extreme 
old age . . . and after manifold conflicts of heavenly 
warfare sighing with his whole mind for the rewards 
of a heavenly recompense." St. Boniface states in 
a letter to the Pope that Willibrord preached during 
fifty years to the Frisian nation.^ He died at Epternach 
near Treves about 738 in his eighty- second year. 

^ Migne, P. L. cl. col. 700 f. est " ; see Migne, P. L. Ixxxix. col. 

« St. Boniface, Ep. 90. He writes, 787. 
" Frisonum magna pars adhuc pagana 

338 I^HE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xiii. 

Alcuin his biographer describes him as " devotus 
verbi Dei praedicator." 

Another Anglo-Saxon missionary, who laboured 
successfully at Egmond in the north of Holland, was 
Adeibert Adclbert, a royal prince of Northumbria. He was 
Weren- foUowed by Werenfrid, who lived at Elste and preached 
the gospel to the Batavi, who inhabited the island 
formed by the Rhine and the Wahal. 
piecheim. Other Auglo-Saxou missionaries of about the same 
Wiro^^" period were Piecheim, Otger and Wiro,^ who were 
favoured by Pepin and laboured as missionaries amongst 
the inhabitants of Gueldres, their principal residence 
being in the neighbourhood of Ruremond. 
Visit of Wulfram, who was archbishop of Sens during the 
last quarter of the seventh century, is said to have made 
a missionary journey into Friesland, in the course of 
which he met with considerable success. On this 
occasion he baptized a son of Radbod who soon after- 
wards died. 

According to Wulf ram's biographer the Frisians 
were at this time in the frequent habit of offering human 
sacrifices to their gods. Some they strangled, or hung 
on gibbets, others they drowned in the sea or in the 
river. On one occasion Wulfram was present when 
a boy, who had been selected by lot, was led forth to 
be put to death. The bishop having interceded with 
Radbod on his behalf, he rephed, '' If your Christ can 
rescue this boy from death, he may be His servant and 
yours for ever." Wulfram's biographer tells us that as 
the result of his prayers the rope by which the boy 

1 See History and Antiquities of the pp. 334 f. By some Irish writers 
Anglo-Saxon Church by Lingard, Wiro is claimed as an Irishman. 


had been suspended for two hours broke, whereupon 
he was resuscitated and became an inmate of the 
monastery at Fontanelle.^ As a result many were 
converted and baptized. Later on two boys aged five 
and seven, who had been tied to a stake and left to be 
drowned by the rising tide, were rescued and baptized 
by Wulfram.2 

Radbod himself consented to be baptized and had Radbod 
actually dipped one foot in the font when he stopped be b^p- ^ 
to ask whether, in the event of his being baptized, he ^^^^^' 
might eventually hope to meet his ancestors in heaven, 
or whether they were in the place of torment of which 
he had been told. " Do not deceive thyself," was 
Wulfram's reply, " in the presence of God assuredly is 
the ordained number of His elect ; as for thy ancestors, 
the chiefs of Frisia, who have departed this life without 
baptism, it is certain that they have received the just 
sentence of damnation." On receiving this answer 
Radbod withdrew from the font, saying that he could 
not separate himself from his predecessors the chiefs 
of Frisia in order to sit down with a few beggars in the 
celestial kingdom.^ Whether this incident be auth- 
entic or not, it may be taken as illustrating the attitude 
of the missionaries of this period and their teaching 
in regard to the necessity of Christian baptism. 

The biography of Wulfram purports to have been 
written by Jonas a contemporary monk,* but it con- 

^ Vita 8. Wulframmi. Ada S8. interpolated by Harduinus, a priest 

Bened. ssec. ii. i. 344. of Fontanelle at the end of the 

2 Id. i. 344-45. eighth century. The Bollandists 

^ Vita Wulframmi, c. 9. declined to publish this biography 

* See Mabillon, Acta 88. Ord. 8. and substituted a shorter version 

Bened. iii. 1, pp. 341-48. The which may perhaps be the original 

biography was probably revised and work of Jonas. This omits the story 


tains many chronological and other mistakes and its 
authority is of very doubtful value. Wulfram even- 
tually retired into a monastery and died at Fontanelle 
in 695. 
Boniface In, or about, 715 Boniface made his first attempt 
landrns. to preach the Gospel to the Frisians, but owing to the 
opposition of Radbod he was forced to return to 
England. In 754 he returned to renew his missionary 
effort which was then attended with considerable 
His success, but which ended with his martyrdom at 

dom!^754. Dokkum in the following year.i The next missionary 
to the Frisians of whose work we possess any detailed 
Gregory of information was Gregory of Utrecht. In 719 Boniface, 
Utrecht. ^^^ ^^^ visiting the convent of Paly near Treves, was 
struck with the inteUigence and piety of Gregory who 
was a grandson of the abbess Addula and was then a 
boy of about fourteen. His father Albricus was a 
grandson of Dagobert II. The boy was eager to follow 
Boniface in his missionary campaign and, the reluctant 
consent of the abbess having been secured, he went 
with him and became his hfe-long disciple and com- 
panion.2 Qn the death of Boniface he was placed in 
charge of the church of Utrecht, being assisted by an- 
Aiubert. other Enghshman named Alubert. Under his guidance 
the monastery at Utrecht became a great missionary 
college where youths from England, France, Friesland 
and Germany were trained with the special object of 
becoming missionaries to the pagan Frieslanders.^ 

of the duke's refusal to be baptized. preaching in Frisia and his martyrdom 

The latter died in 719, whilst Wulf- at Dokkum see below, p. 374 ff. 

ram died in 695. See Acta SS. for ^ gge Acta SS. for August 25. 

March 20, vol. iii. p. 145. ^ See Vita Gregorii in Acta SS. for 

1 For a reference to Boniface's August 25: " Quidam eorum erant de 

HOLLAND {FBI 81 A) 341 

Gregory continued teaching and preaching till he Death of 
reached his seventieth year when he was seized with 731 ^^^'^' 
paralysis in his side which continued till his death three 
years later (781) . When at length his sufferings reached 
their climax he saluted his successor Albric and having 
been placed by his request at the door of the church he 
received the Holy Communion and died, surrounded 
by his disciples to whom he said, " To-day I desire 
to obtain my release." ^ 

His numerous converts and disciples included many 
of noble birth from amongst the Franks, the Saxons, 
the Frieslanders and the English, the last of whom 
are referred to by his biographer ^ as a " religious race " 
(gens religiosa). 

Yet another English missionary of striking personaUty Lebuin. 
was Lebuin (Liafwin),^ who, on his arrival from England 
built himself a hut amongst the pagans east of the 
R. Ysell near Deventer, and whose holy and austere 
life influenced several of the Saxon chiefs in favour of 
the Christian faith. Eventually, however, his oratory 
was burned to the ground and his converts massacred 
during one of the Saxon risings, whereupon Lebuin 

nobili stirpe Francorum, quidam et temporis christianitatis nomine cen- 

de religiosa gente Anglorum : quidam sebatur, id est usque in ripam occiden- 

et de novella Dei plantatione diebus talem fluminis qui dicitur Laybeki, 

nostris inchoata, Fresonum et Sax- ubi confinium erat Christianorum 

onum : quidam autem et de Bav- Fresonum et paganorum cunctis die- 

ariis et Sue vis, vel de quacunque bus Pippini regis. " Vita Greg. v. 11. 

natione et gente misisset eos Dpus." See Migne, P. L. cxix. col. 750 ff. 

1 "hodie volo licentiam habere." ^ On joining Gregory he told him, 

Migne, P. Zr. xcix. 768. *'sibi a Domino terribiliter trina 

' 2 Referring to the area covered admonitione fuisse preceptum, ut in 

by Gregory's activities, Liudger writes, confinio Francorum atque Saxonum 

" Trajectum antiquam civitatem et plebi in doctrina prodesse deberet." 

vicum famosum Dorstad cum ilia ir- See Vita Liudgeri, Pertz, Mon. Germ. 

radiavit parte Fresonise, quae tunc ii. 407 : Migne, xcix. 

342 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xiii. 

determined to make a direct appeal to the Saxons at 
their annual gathering for consultation and legislation 
which took place at Marklum in Saxony near the R. 
Weser. We refer later on to the results that followed 
this appeal.- 

He eventually returned to the neighbourhood of 
Deventer and died about 775. One of Lebuin's helpers 
and fellow-missionaries was Marcellinus, who had 
formerly been a disciple of Willibrord. 
Heathen In 780 Wittekiud, duke of Westphalia and one of the 
leaders of the Saxons, who fought against Charlemagne, 
destroyed all the Christian settlements in Friesland 
and restored for a time the whole country to heathen- 
Baptism ism. After being defeated by Charlemagne, he even- 
kind.* ^ tually submitted to be baptized.^ 

In 790 Alcuin, writing to Colcus, says : " Let your 
dilection know that by the mercy of God the Holy 
Church in the parts of Europe has peace, advances and 
grows. For the old Saxons and all the Frisians have 
been converted to the faith of Christ at the instance 
of Karl (Charlemagne), who influences some by rewards, 
and some by threats. Last year the same king with a 
great host attacked the Sclaves whom we called Vionuds 
and brought them into subjection to his rule." ^ 

Among those who had laboured earnestly for the 
conversion of Friesland was a Frieslander named 
Liudger. Liudgcr wliosc grandfather, Wursing (Vursingus) had 
been a friend of Willibrord. He was born about 744 and 
after beginning his education at Utrecht under Gregory 
he was, for three and a half years, a pupil of Alcuin 
at York, and, having been ordained deacon, returned 

1 See below, p. 383 f. • '^ Ep. iii. Migne, P. L. c. col. 142. 

2 See below, p. 346. 


in 773 to his own country. On the death of Gregory 
in 781 Albricus his nephew and successor sent Liudger 
to Deventer to rebuild the church of Lebuin which 
contained his tomb and to restore his Mission. He 
was afterwards sent by Albricus with others to destroy 
the pagan temples throughout Friesland. Of the 
treasures found in these temples the emperor received 
two-thirds and the remainder was given to Albricus 
for the support of his work. When Albricus was made 
bishop of Cologne Liudger was ordained a priest and 
placed in charge of the mission at Dokkum where 
Boniface had been killed. After about seven years his 
laboiu*s were abruptly interrupted by the invasion and 
massacres of Wittekind to which we have already 
referred. He burnt the churches, expelled the mission- 
aries and forcibly reconverted the inhabitants of the 
district to paganism. About 782 Liudger went with two 
companions to Rome and from there to Monte Cassino, 
where he spent two and a half years studying the rule 
of Benedict. Returning to Friesland in 785 he was 
given by Charles the charge of five pagi to the east of 
the R. Lauwers. After labouring here for a time he Liudger 
crossed the water to HeKgoland. As his boat neared Jandr^'^°' 
the island and Liudger stood at the prow holding a 
cross in his hands and praying and praising God, a 
thick cloud was seen to rise from the land, which sailed 
away leaving a clear sky in its wake. Liudger, accord- 
ing to his biographer, said, " Ye see how through the 
divine compassion the enemy has been put to flight, 
who had hitherto taken possession of this island with 
a dark cloud." ^ Regarding this as a sign that their 

^ Vita Liudgeri. Migne, P L, xcix. col 779. 

344 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xiii. 

work would be successful, they approached the shore 
and having preached to the inhabitants they overturned 
the shrines of their god Fosite and built Christian 
churches in their stead. They baptized the converts 
at the fountain which Willibrord had used for the same 
purpose with results which nearly proved fatal to him. 
A little later the work in Friesland was again interrupted 
for a time by a pagan invasion and many churches 
were destroyed. 

After the final conquest of the Saxons Charlemagne 
directed Liudger to undertake the evangelization of 
those who lived in the neighbourhood of Mimegerneford 
(or Mimegardef ord) . A missionary named Bernard had 
already worked in this district, 780-791. Here Liudger 
built a monastery and sent out thence missionaries 
to preach and teach and stamp out all traces of idol- 
worship. In 805 he was consecrated as a missionary 
Becomes bishop, the site of his see being fixed at Miinster. His 
Munster, dioccsc included five cantons of Friesland and the 
country inhabited by the East Saxons which is now 
part of Westphalia, extending from the R. Lippe to 
the middle course of the R. Ems. He laboured zealously 
as a missionary till his death on March 26, 809. 

Three biographies of him, written during the ninth 
century, have been preserved, the first and most trust- 
worthy of which was written by Altfridus, third bishop 
of Munster, who had never seen Liudger but obtained 
his information from his relations and disciples.^ 

Another missionary who came from England and 

Wiiiehad whosc Sphere of work lay in the same district was Wil- 

lehad, a native of Northumbria. He was born about 

1 See Migne, P. L. xcix. col. 769 ff., and Pertz, Mon. Germ. ii. 403 ff. 


730 and was a great friend of Alcuin.^ He began his 
missionary labours near Dokkum and after awhile 
moved to the district of Groningen, the population of atGronin- 
which was still fanatically pagan. As a result of his^^^' 
preaching and his uncompromising denunciation of 
their idols the people rose against him at a place called 
Humarcha and declared him to be deserving of death 
for having spoken blasphemy against their gods. Some 
of those present, however, withheld them from carrying 
out their intentions and urged that they should delay 
and consider carefully before putting the missionary 
to death. They urged also that this form of religion 
was unknown to them and that they knew not whether 
it was offered to them by the will of the gods. The 
preacher was not guilty of any crime, and should not 
be put to death, but lots should rather be cast in order 
that it might be ascertained from heaven whether he 
were deserving of death.^ This advice was accepted 
and, the lots that were cast having proved favom*able 
to Willehad, he was allowed to depart in peace. He 
continued to labour as a missionary in the district of 
Drenthe, where his work prospered and a number of and at 
converts were secured. After a time, and as a result ^^^ ^' 
of an attempt on the part of his disciples to destroy 
some of the temples and idols, a rising took place 
near Drenthe and Willehad was again attacked. One 
of the pagans drew his sword and struck at him, in- 
tending to cleave his skull, but the blow only severed 
the thong supporting the box of relics that he was 
carrying. This circumstance was regarded by the 

^ Alcuin in a letter dated 789, meum Uilhaed episcopum." 
writes, "saluta millies dilectissimum ^ Migne, P. L. cxviii. col. 1016. 

346 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xiii. 

pagans as a favourable omeii and Willehad was again 
permitted to depart in safety. 

Charlemagne now suggested to him that he should 
endeavour to evangelize the pagans who inhabited 
and at the district of Wigmodia, between the Weser and the 
modia. Elbe, and for the next two years he worked amongst 
them with the result that nearly all the Saxons and 
Frieslanders in that district professed conversion to 
the faith of Christ. On the rebellion of Wittekind in 
782 several missionaries were murdered and Willehad 
Visit to again took refuge in flight. On this occasion he visited 
782°^^' Rome and on his way back he spent two years in a 
convent which had been founded by Willibrord at 
Epternach in France. Here he spent his time in study- 
ing the Scriptures and in transcribing the Epistles of 
St. Paul ; his MS. was afterwards long preserved by 
the bishops of Bremen. In 785 he returned on the 
solicitation of Charlemagne io Friesland and helped 
to rebuild the churches which had been destroyed by 
the pagans. On the baptism of Wittekind missionary 
work made rapid progress and soon afterwards (787) 
Charlemagne caused Willehad to be consecrated as 
bishop of Eastern Frisia and Saxony. After an epis- 
copate of rather more than two years he died at Plec- 
cateshem (Blexen) near Bremen on Nov. 8, 789. His 
life was written by Anskar, bishop of Hamburg,^ in the 
middle of the ninth century. Within three years of 
his death the long struggle between Charlemagne and 
the Saxons ended in a final victory for the emperor and 
Nominal in the nominal victory of Christianity. The results 
ChrJEtf-*^ which had been achieved by his armies and by the 


^ 1 See Migne, P. L. cxviii. col. 1013 ff. 


missionaries who followed were consolidated by the Founda- 
foundation of the eight bishoprics of Osnaburg, Bremen, eight' 
Mxinster, Minden, Halberstadt, Paderborn, Werden, ^^"^^^p- 
and Hildesheim. Of these Bremen, Paderborn and 
Minden were for the Angivaric Saxons, Miinster and 
Osnaburg for the northern Westphalians, Werden and 
Hildesheim were for the Eastphalians and Halberstadt 
was for the Thuringian Saxons. 

The first bishop of Paderborn was a Saxon named Hathu- 
Hathumarius. According to Ido (who wrote the history ^^"^®- 
of the translation of St. Liborius) Hathumarius had 
been given as a hostage to Charlemagne whilst still 
a boy and was sent by him to live at Wm'zburg. He 
was made bishop of Paderborn and was succeeded in 
815 by Baduradus. 

During the episcopate of Hunger, eleventh bishop of 
Utrecht, the city was destroyed (876) by the pagan 
Northmen, and at the time of its destruction it is said 
to have contained fifty-five churches. On this occasion 
the Northmen killed nearly all its inhabitants, includ- 
ing the clergy. Their ravages continued at intervals 
for more than a century. Utrecht itself was rebuilt 
in the time of Bishop Baldric (d. 977). 



The con. The conversion of the peoples who hved within the 
Ger^mrny l™its of the present German empire occupied more 
occupied than twelve centuries. The first Christian communities 

12 cen- , , 1 P • • p • 

turies. Concerning which we have any definite information 
had come into existence by the middle of the second 
centiu-y, but it was not till nearly the close of the 
thirteenth century that the forcible conversion of the 
inhabitants of Prussia to a profession of the Christian 
faith was accomplished, and another century had still 
to pass before the Lithuanians, some of whom live in 
Eastern Prussia, were nominally converted. 

After referring to the statements that are to be found 
in early writers relating to the isolated Christian com- 
munities that were established in the early centuries, 
chiefly in Southern Germany, we shall try, as far as is 
conveniently possible, to treat in separate sections the 
progress of Christian Missions in the various provinces 
or districts. In many cases it will be found that the 
history of one province is intertwined with that of 
another, but it will be better to aim at keeping the 
story of each district distinct rather than to regard the 
country as a unit and attempt to fuse into one the 
religious development of its different peoples. 

The first definite reference to the existence of Christian 



To face page 348 

George Philip ijr Son, Lta^ 
Long:raans, Green & Co., London, New York, Bombay, Calcutta & Madras'. 


Churches in any part of Germany is the statement of Early 
Irenaeus (d. 202), who writes : " Nor have the Churches communi 
foimded in Germany (eV Tepixaviais;) beheved or handed *^®^* 
down the faith otherwise."^ Harnack regards it as 
certain that there were Christian commmiities and 
bishops as early as 185 a.d. in Cologne and Mainz, and 
probably in other important Roman towns. 

A bishop of Cologne attended by his deacon was state- 
present at the Council of Aries in 314. In 355 Amml- ^ 
Ammianus refers to the " conventicle " ^ in Cologne, ^^^^' 
an expression which suggests that the Christian com- 
munity in this important centre was still very small at 
this time. 

TertuUian in his treatise against the Jews ^ includes Tertui- 
the Germans amongst the number of those who had 
bowed the neck to the yoke of Christ, but his statement 
is a rhetorical one and is not to be relied on. 

According to Ammianus the majority of the inhabi- 
tants of Mainz were Christians in 368,* and Arnobius, Amobius, 
who wrote early in the fourth century, refers to the 
existence of about 300 Christians among the Alemanni.^ 

That there were organized Christian Churches in the 
Roman provinces of Germany by 358 is shown by 
the fact that Hilary of Poitiers addressed his Book on Hilary, 
S3niods to the bishops of these provinces.^ 

In the list of ecclesiastical provinces, represented at 

^ Iren. i. 10, 3. coepiscopis provinciae Germanise 

2 Amm. Marc. xv. 5, 31, "con- primse et Germanise secundse et 

venticulum." Lugdunensis primse et Lugdunensis 

^ Cap. vii. secundse et provinciae Aquitaniae et 

* Amm. Marc, xxvii. 10. provincise Novempopulanse et ex 

^ Arn. i. 16. Narbonensi plebibus et clericis 

® The words of the dedication are, Tolesanis et provinciarum Britan- 

" Dominis et beatissimis fratribus et niarum episcopis.*' 


Athana- Sardica, given by Athanasius no mention is made of 
Germany, although the Churches of Britain are included 
in his Kst.i 

The gradual spread of Christianity during the fourth 
and fifth centuries does not appear to have been accom- 
panied by any general improvement in morals, as 

and Salvian, who was a native either of Cologne or Treves, 

Salvian. i i ii • • p ^ 

regarded the mvasion of the Goths as God's scourge 
upon the cultured world which had become Christian 
in name, but which was still heathen in character. 


Limits of At the time when Christianity began to spread 
throughout Southern Germany the state of Rhaetia 
included, roughly speaking, the territory lying between 
lat. 49 and 46° N., and long. W and 12° E., that is the 
greater part of the modern states of Baden and Wiirtem- 
berg, the south-west of Bavaria, and parts of the 
Austrian Tyrol. It included the sites of Munich and 
Ratisbon. In Rhaetia there were Christians in Augsburg 
and Ratisbon (Regensburg) at the beginning of the 

St. Afra. fourth ceutury, and St. Afra suffered martyrdom at the 
former place in 304. At Regensburg inscriptions bear- 
ing Christian symbols have been found dating from the 
latter half of the third century.^ Before the end of the 

Christian fourth ccutury there were also bishops at Sabiona (Seben) 

rics. and Laibach (Emona). Athanasius refers to the 

organization of the Christian Church in Noricum.^ 
This Christianity was, however, almost obliterated by 

^ Apol. contra Arian. i. ^ Apol. contra Arian. i. : Hist. 

2 See Hauck's Kirchengeschichte Arian. 28. 
Deutschlands, i. 347. 


the Rugian devastations at the end of the fifth 

One of the earliest missionaries in the province of Vaien- 
Rhaetia was Valentinus,^ who began to preach in^^^"^' 
440 at Castra Batava at the junction of the Danube 
and the Inn near the modern Passau. Soon afterwards 
he visited Rome and soUcited the approval of Pope Leo 
on his labours. Returning to Castra Batava he found 
it impossible to achieve any results owing partly to 
the opposition of the Arians and partly to the 
obstinacy of the heathen. He accordingly retired to 
Rome and begged Leo that he might be sent to some 
other field of labour. At the urgent request of Leo, 
however, he returned again to the scene of his former 
work, but finding it impossible to associate in any 
way with the Arian Christians, he retired to the 
Rhaetian Alps, where he built himself a cell and where 
his austere life attracted numerous visitors, some of 
whom he baptized with his own hands. 

By the middle of the fifth century the Alemanni, one The 
of the German races, had occupied the left bank of the ^^®"^*^^*- 
Rhine as far as the Vosges, the greater part of Switzer- 
land and part of VindeHcia in Rhaetia. More than a 
century later Agathias, a Byzantine historian (who 
wrote about 570), described them as heathen who 
worshipped idols and offered horses in sacrifice to their 

Amongst others who worked on behalf of the same 

^ His Life is based upon the record . . . turn vetustate, turn terrse putre- 

of his labours which is said to have factione dissipata." Surius, Acta 

been found in 1120 a.d, beside his /S'xS'., August 4. 

body under the church at Passau. It ^ f^j. farther references to mission- 
is referred to as written "tabula ary work amongst the Alemanni 
plumbea, et ut vix posset intelligi see above, p. 313 ff. 


Trudpert. race mention should be made of Trudpert/ an Irish 
hermit, who helped to evangelize tae inhabitants of 
the Black Forest, and was murdered by its inhabitants. 

Kiiian. An Irish bishop named Kihan (643) sailed from 
Ireland with two companions and worked as a mission- 
ary at Wiirzburg in Franconia, where many years later 
he was murdered, at the instigation of Geilana, the wife 
of Gozbert. 

Pirminius. Pirminius, who was perhaps an Anglo-Saxon, founded 
the abbey of Reichenau on an island in the Rhine below 
Constance in 724. Three years later in 727 he retired 
into the Vosges in Alsace. Here and in the Black 
Forest he founded a number of other monasteries,^ all 

His de- of which adopted the Rule of St. Benedict. He has 

ofihe''''' left ^ description written in appaUing Latin which 

Aiemanni. g-^^g ^^^ accouut of the supcrstitious rites that were 
observed by many of the Aiemanni long after they had 
become nominally Christian. 

By the middle of the eighth century there were few 
of the Aiemanni who were nominally heathen, but 
very many were Christians only in name, who, whilst 
refraining from the worship of visible idols, continued 
to practise their old heathen rites. 

Em- About the middle of the eighth century Emmeran,^ 

a native of Poitiers and a bishop in Aquitania, travelled 
from Aquitania to Pannonia in order to attempt the 
conversion of the Avares. On his way he halted at 
Ratisbon, where he was induced by the Duke Theodo 

1 See Passio Thrvdperti. Scr. Rer. tion which is, however, of doubtful 
Mer. iv. 354 ff. (Also Acta S8., value. A later memoir written in 
Oct. 8.) the eleventh century, which is also 

2 See Hauck's K. D. i. 350 if. untrustworthy, is given in Canisii 

3 A Ufe of Emmeran written by Lectiones Aniiqum, vol. iii. 
Aribo in 772 gives the above informa- 


Marco - 
' manni. 


to remain in order to instruct his people, who had been 
partially converted from heathenism. He laboured 
for three years here and met with considerable success, 
but was eventually murdered by a son of the duke 

in 752. 

Northern Bavaria 

By the time that the Bavarians (the old Marcomanni) The 
were driven westwards from Bohemia by the Slavs a ' 
certain number of them had already become Arian 
Christians. The first orthodox Christian missionaries 
from the west to work amongst them were two disciples 
of Columbanus, Eustasius the abbot of Luxeuil (d. 625) 
and Agilus from Bobbio (d. 635). 

Towards the close of the seventh century Rupert Rupert of 
(Hrodbertus) bishop of Worms, who was invited to ^'''''^^* 
work in Bavaria by Duke Theodo II, laboured for many 
years as a missionary and baptized the duke and several 
of his nobles. He built the church that afterwards 
became the cathedral of Salzburg, and which served as 
a centre of missionary influence throughout the neigh- 
bouring districts. He then revisited his native land, 
and, having secured the help of twelve additional 
workers, he returned to Bavaria, where he laboured till 
extreme old age.i At a later date (about 716) Pope 
Gregory II sent a legation to organize the Church in 
Bavaria, but the death of the duke prevented any 
successful result. 

A Prankish hermit named Corbinian worked incorbinian. 
Bavaria from 717 to 730, but the details of his lif^- 

^ The account given in Caniaii Leciiones Antiquce, vol. iii., is of late date 
and untrustworthy. 


which have been recorded are untrustworthy. Accord- 
ing to a later tradition he became the first bishop of 
Freising.i In 739 Boniface, who had been commissioned 
Bishop- by Gregory III, divided Bavaria into dioceses and did 
Bavaria, inuch to Strengthen the influence of the Church.^ 

At the time of Boniface's visit the only bishop in the 
country resided at Passau. A second bishopric was 
founded at Ratisbon, which became the capital of 
Bavaria. To the see of Salzburg, supposed to have 
been founded by Bishop Rupert of Worms, he appointed 
a man of British origin named John, who was succeeded 
in 743 by an Irishman named Virgilius.^ To a fourth 
bishopric which was founded at Freising Erombert a 
brother of Corbinian was appointed. At the same time 
he arranged for the foundation of two monasteries at 
Altaich and Benedictbeuren. In 742 Willibald, a 
relation of Boniface, became bishop of Eichstadt.^ 
The Until the close of the eighth century the bishops. 

Church in Several of whom had apparently no regular dioceses, 
century, wcrc foreigners and were consecrated away from 
Bavaria. As a rule they lived as monks. 

Referring to the condition of the Christian Chm-ch 
in Bavaria and Thuringia [i.e. Saxony) at the beginning 
of the eighth century Professor Hauck writes : " If 
one tries to realize the condition of the Church of 
German origin in the first decade of the eighth centin-y 
one notes that whilst a beginning had been made at 
many different places nowhere had a clear or definite 
result been reached. That which had been begun 

^ His biographer (Aribo) states ^ See below, p. 365 f. 

that he twice visited Rome and that ^ For a further reference to this or 

he was consecrated as a bishop by the another VirgiUus see below, p. 368. 

Pope and received from him the pall. "* See Hauck, K, D. i. 536. 


was everywhere in danger of being lost. Nor were the 
Irish-Scotch missionaries free from blame : they proved 
themselves incapable of founding a German Church. 
There were doubtless many true prefachers of the Gospel 
amongst them, in many places they laboured in the 
service of Christianity, but they were single individuals 
and had no f eehng in common, and their work was not 
a joint-labour: it resulted in the estabKshment of 
separate Christian communities, but not in the estab- 
lishment of a Provincial Church. Worse still it did 
not lead to the formation of a native ministry. ... It 
was to be the task of the Prankish Church to assist by 
entering upon this work." ^ 

The political status of Bavaria underwent a con- 
siderable change during the reign of Odilo. His father odiio. 
Hrirbert had endeavoured to shake off the control of 
Charles Martel and having been defeated by him lost 
the whole of the northern part of his kingdom. Odilo 
unwisely renewed the struggle and being taken prisoner 
at Lechfeld had to give up to the Pranks all his 
territory which lay to the north of the Danube. In 794 
Bavaria was formally constituted a Prankish province. 

At the beginning of the ninth century Christian Christian 
Germany extended from the Rhine a little below SXTh 
Cologne to the Pichtelgebirge highlands and along the ''^''*"'^ ' 
Bohmer Wald to Passau, and included the Hessians, 
the Thuringians and Bavarians. To the north of this 
lived the Saxons, and to the east of the R. Elbe were 
the Wends (Serbs),^ Avars and Czechs, the last of 
whom were already in Bohemia. 

1 Hauck's K. D. i. 388 ff. 

2 Now represented by the Wends of Upper and Lower Lusatia 



The work of Boniface 

Irish mis- Until the eighth century was well advanced the 
ii°N."Ger- spread and organization of the Christian Church in 
""^"y- Holland, Belgium, and Northern Germany had depended 
upon efforts made by individual missionaries, of whom 
the majority had come from Ireland. Few attempts 
had been made by them to act in concert Avith each 
other, or to consohdate the results of their labours. 
Ireland has produced, and produces to-day, illustrious 
soldiers and heroic pioneers in all spheres of activity, 
but it has produced few great statesmen or organizers, 
whether in the Church or the State. Had the work of 
consohdating the Christian Churches (which the Irish 
missionaries had helped to call into existence) and of 
rendering possible a concerted attack upon German 
paganism been left to these missionaries, the conversion 
of a large part of Northern Europe and the purification 
and organization of the Christian communities which 
it already contained might have been long deferred. 
Lives of The missionary who was to inaugurate the acconi- 
face^°"'' plishment of this task and who was to win for himself 
the title of "Apostle of Germany" was the Anglo- 
Saxon Winfrid, more generally known by his later 
name, Boniface. This name was apparently assumed 
by him when he first became a monk. The chief 
authority for the story of Boniface's work is the Life 
written by Willibald (about 760), who was an 
eye-witness" of much that he relates, and wrote only 
a few years after the death of Boniface. The monk 
Othlo, who wrote a longer Life about 1100, em- 
bodied the whole of the earlier work. His comment 

• GERMANY 357 

on the absence of any record of miracles in the earUer 
Life increases for us its value as a historical document. 
He writes : "I have found that very many remarkable 
accounts of miracles which I have read in other books 
are not contained in the Life by Willibald. It may be 
that the writer passed over the wonderful works of 
Boniface in ignorance." 

Before proceeding to describe the labours of Boniface Kingdoms 
in the different territories which he visited, it is necessary Franks. 
to recall the political boundaries which existed in the 
seventh and eighth centuries in Central Europe, as 
these do not correspond to any which have existed in 
modern times. The kingdom, or rather kingdoms, of 
the Franks embraced what are now included in Northern 
France and Western Germany. The greater part of 
this area was divided into Austrasia ^ and Neustria, the 
former word meaning " eastern," and the latter " not- 
eastern." Clovis, the sole king of the Franks, who 
became a Christian in 496,^ gave a kingdom to each of 
his four sons, their respective seats of government 
being Orleans, Paris, Soissons, and Metz. For many 
years before the line of Clovis became extinct in 759, 
the control of the Frankish kingdoms was practically 
vested in the chief officer or mayor of the palace. In 
687 the AustrasiaUj^army defeated the Neustrian army 
at the battle of T^mrr^tftd-tha-^united kingdoms were 
governed by the mayor of the palace, Pepin, who lived 
at Cologne. It was this Pepin who received the mis- 
sionaries Willibrord and Suidbert. He was the father 
of the famous Charles Martel, who stayed the tide of 

^ This is the same word as the ^ Or, according to some authorities, 

modern "Austria," though it does in 507, see above, p. 189, note, 
not denote the same territories. 


Mohammedan invasion at the battle fought between 
Tours and Poitiers in 732. 
Early life Born at Creditou in Devonshire about 680 ^ of parents 
face. who were apparently connected with the royal family 
of Wessex, Boniface, when only four or five years old, 
was greatly influenced by some clergy or monks who 
visited his father's house, and at this early age ex- 
pressed his desire to devote himself to a religious life. 
His father's reluctant consent having been obtained, 
he went, when seven years of age, to a monastery at 
Exeter, and later to the monastery at Nutescelle in 
Hampshire, which was under the charge of the abbot 
Winberct. By the time of his ordination as priest 
his reputation for learning and for business capacity 
had recommended him to King Tna, and the prospect 
of a successful career in England lay before him. His 
mind was, however, set upon becoming a missionary, 
and as practically the whole of England was now 
nominally Christian, his thoughts turned to the nearest 
pagans, whom he described as his kinsmen after the 
flesh,2 and amongst whom Willibrord was then labour- 
ing. Accompanied by three brethren, he went to 
He sails Loudou,^ and sailed thence to Dorstat on the river Lek 
in Frisia. At the time of his arrival Radbod, who was 
engaged in war with Charles Martel, refused Boniface 

for Frisia. 

1 According to Hauck, the date of Bishop Browne, p. 17. 

his birth was as early as 675. For ^ The following is the description of 

arguments in favour of this date see London contained in the Life of 

Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, i. Boniface : " Pervenit ad locum ubi 

450 n. erat forum rerum venalium, et usque 

2 Procopius, writing in 553, states hodie antiquo Anglorum Saxonumque 
that Britain was peopled by three vocabulo appellatur Lundenwich." 
nations — Britons, Angles,andFrisians. See Migne, P. L. Ixxxix. col. 611; 
Cf. Boniface and his companions, by see Bede, Hist ii. c. 3. 


permission to remain in Frisia. He accordingly retm-ned 
to Nutescelle, the monks of which sought, but without 
success, to secure him as their abbot. 

In 718 he left his native land once more, destined Visit to 
never to return. Taking with him a commendatory 
letter from Daniel, the bishop of Winchester, he travelled 
through France to Rome, where he received a cordial 
welcome from Pope Gregory II, who gave him a letter 
authorizing him to preach the Gospel in Germany, or 
wherever he might find opportunity. In the spring 
of 719, having obtained an ample supply of relics, he 
set out for Northern Europe. In undertaking the long, 
and at that time dangerous, journey to Rome in 
order to obtain the sanction and support of the Pope 
for his missionary enterprise, there can be no doubt 
that Boniface acted wisely, alike from the religious and 
the political standpoint. He had probably learned 
something of the unsatisfactory character of many of 
the bishops in Northern Europe, and had reason to 
fear lest his work, if undertaken without ecclesiastical 
sanction, might be interfered with by them. On the 
other hand, he was aware that the various kings and 
chiefs in Northern Europe, in whose territories he might 
hope to attempt missionary work, were constantly 
engaged in fighting each other, and that a commendatory 
letter from the bishop of Rome would be more likely 
to serve the purpose of an effective passport than any 
other document that he could produce. 

After a short visit to liutprand, the king of the His work 
Lombards, he passed on to Thuringia, which roughly Ingia.^ 
corresponds to modern Saxony. Here for a ^hile he 
endeavoured to raise the standards of life of the bishops 


and clergy, and to reclaim those of the people who 
had lapsed into idolatry. Having received news of the 
death of Radbod, he left Thuringia and joined Willibrord 
at Utrecht, and stayed with him for three years. 
Refusing Willibrord's request to become his coadjutor 
bishop, he started on a long missionary tour to the 
south-east, arriving at length in the district now called 
Converts Hessc-Cassel. Here he succeeded in converting and 

XT • '-5 

baptizing tw^o Hessian chiefs, Detdic and Dierolf, who 
had called themselves Christians, but had at the same 
time worshipped idols. He was also the means of con- 
verting many other Hessians, and of establishing a 
monastery at Amanaburg on the river Ohm. Amongst 
the northern Hessians he baptized many thousands 
near the frontier of the Saxons — that is, near the 
modern Hanover. Having sent Binna (who was pro- 
bably an Englishman) to report his success, he was soon 
afterwards summoned to Rome, and proceeded thither 
accompanied by a crowd of brethren and retainers. 
The Pope, after questioning him in regard to his mis- 
sionary work, and having satisfied himself that he held 
Conse- the orthodox faith, consecrated him as a bishop on 
Tbishop! St. Andrew's Day, 723. Returning from Rome with 
^^^* a commendatory letter addressed to Charles Martel, 
he recommenced his work in Hessia under his protec- 
tion. In the course of this letter the Pope wrote : 
" We have felt it necessary to send our present brother 
Boniface to preach to the people of the German race 
and to various persons dwelling to the east of the 
Rhine, held in the error of heathenism or up to this 
time fettered in the darkness of ignorance." 

Boniface had no scruples in accepting the help of the 


secular power which the Pope's letter to Charles Martel His appeal 
was intended to secure, and in a letter of his addressed Martei. 
to Daniel, bishop of Winchester, a little later he wrote : 
" Without the patronage of the Prince of the Franks 
I could neither rule the people nor defend the priests 
or deacons, the monks or nuns, nor without his mandate 
and the awe which he inspires could I put a stop to the 
rites of the pagans and the sacrileges of idol- worship." ^ 
There is, however, no evidence that Boniface ever in- 
voked the help of the secular powers in order to compel 
any pagans to accept baptism. 

On his return to the scene of his former labours he 
found that, whilst some of his converts had remained 
steadfast in the faith, the majority of them, without 
abandoning their profession of Christianity, had begun 
again to offer sacrifices to trees and fountains, to consult 
augurs, and practise divination. A letter written to Letter 
Boniface in 724 by Daniel, bishop of Winchester, in Daniel, 
reply, as it would appear, to one asking for his advice, ^(^^ 
throws so much light upon the methods of missionary Chester, 
work adopted by the more enlightened missionaries at 
this period that it is worth while to quote it at some 
length. At the time when Bishop Daniel wrote paganism 
had hardly become extinct amongst the South Saxons 
who occupied territory contiguous to his own diocese. 
The Isle of Wight, too, which formed part of his 
diocese, had quite recently been evangelized. He 
begins by congratulating Boniface upon having ren- 
dered himself worthy to receive the highest honour, 
namely, that of being a missionary to the heathen, 
and by expressing the hope that those who endeavour 

^ Ep. xii. Migne, P. L. Ixxxix. col. 702. 


to support the missionaries may be found worthy to 
receive a portion of a second honour ; he then goes on 
to say : 
Grounds " You ought uot to make assertions contrary to them 
to pagans, in rcspect of the genealogy of their gods, however false 
they be. Allow them to maintain, in accordance with 
their belief, that some have been generated by others 
... so that you may prove that gods and goddesses 
born after the manner of men are men rather than 
gods, and that those who were not in existence have 
begun to exist. . . . They should then be asked whether 
this world had a beginning or whether they think that 
it always existed and had no beginning. If it had a 
beginning, who created it ? ... If they say that it 
always existed and had no beginning, endeavour to 
refute and disprove this by many documents and 

After suggesting further the uselessness of sacrificing 
to gods when the worshippers could not even ascertain 
who was the most powerful amongst them, he goes on 
to say : 

" These and many other things . . . you ought to 
urge not by way of insulting or irritating them, but 
with large and calm moderation, and at intervals 
their superstitions ought to be compared with our — 
that is, with Christian — dogmas. Their superstitions 
should be referred to as a side issue, in order that the 
pagans may blush, being ashamed rather than exaspe- 
rated, on account of their absurd beliefs." 

He then advises Boniface to suggest that, inas- 
much as the gods of the pagans have failed to inflict 
punishment upon the Christians who have overthrown 


their temples, they are not possessed of any real 

About this time there occurred one of the best- Destmc- 
known incidents in Boniface's missionary career. At sabred ^ 
Geismar in Lower Hessia stood an ancient oak called *^^^ 
the Thunderer's Oak (robur Jovis), which was appa- 
rently sacred to Wotan (Woden), and was a rallying- 
point for the pagans who had turned a deaf ear to his 
preaching. After taking counsel with the Christians, 
Boniface resolved to strike a decisive blow at pagan 
worship by felling the sacred tree. His purpose having 
become known, the people assembled from far and 
near to witness the results which they anticipated 
would happen if so gross an insult were offered to 
the god of their country. Before Boniface had gone 
far in his work the tree, swaying as by a divine 
impulse, crashed to the ground, broken into four 
sections,^ which when the pagans beheld they put 
aside their former maledictions, and believed and 
rendered thanks to God. With the assistance of his 
brethren he subsequently constructed an oratory out 
of planks made from the wood of the tree. 

The success which attended his efforts to convert Mission- 
the Saxons made Boniface eager to secure further emits 
missionary recruits from England, and with this end England. 
in view he addressed a circular letter to bishops, clergy, 
and abbots in England, in the course of which he 
wrote : 

1 See Ep. xiv. ; Migne, P. L. quatuor etiam partes dirupta est." 
Ixxxix. col. 707. This graphic description strongly 

2 " Confestim immensa roboris suggests that it was the work of an 
moles divino desuper flatu exagitatur eye-witness. Vita, c. viii. Migne, 
et palmitum confracta culmine corruit Ixxxix. col. 619. 

et quasi superni nutus solatio in 


" We beseech you that you will deign to remember 
us in your prayers. . . . Pray God and our Lord Jesus 
Christ, who would have all men to be saved and come 
to a knowledge of God, that He will vouchsafe to con- 
vert to the catholic faith the hearts of the pagan Saxons. 
. . . Have compassion on them, for they themselves 
are wont to say, ' We are of one blood and of one 
bone.' " 1 

Amongst the number of those who responded to this 

Wigbert. appeal was Wigbert,^ a native of Dorset, who had been 
a monk of Glastonbury. He was appointed by Boniface 
as abbot of Fritzlar, and was one of a large number of 
readers and writers and men skilled in various arts who 
came from England to work under Boniface's direction. 

Women Others mentioned by Othlo are Burchardt, Lul, 
WiUibald and his brother Wunnibald, Witta, and 
Gregorius. The names of the women who, as Othlo 
tells us, responded to Boniface's appeal included Chuni- 
hild (the aunt of Lul) and her daughter Berathgid, 
Chunitrud, Tecla, Leoba, and Walpurgis, the sister of 
WiUibald and Wunnibald. The first two became heads 
of monastic institutions in Thuringia ; Chunitrud was 
sent to Bavaria " to scatter there the seeds of the 
divine word " ; Tecla undertook work at Kitzingen 
and Ochsenfurt ; Leoba presided over a large number 
of nuns at Bischofsheim, assisted for a time by Wal- 
purgis. These workers apparently reached Boniface 
in 748. In a letter written a few years earlier and 
addressed to Leobgytha (Leoba), Tecla and Cyn child 

1 Ep. xxxvi. Migne, P. L. Ixxxix. 836. A letter of his is preserved 
col. 735. announcing his safe arrival to the 

2 His Life was written by Servatus monks at Glastonbury. See E'p. Ixx. 
Lupus, the abbot of Lerridres, about Migne, P. L. col. 773. 



and the " lovable sisters " dwelling with them,^ he begs 
for their prayers lest he should die without leaving be- 
hind him spiritual sons and daughters. " For many," 
he writes, " who I thought would be placed as sheep 
at Christ's right hand in the coming Judgment are seen 
to be stinking, butting goats, who must be placed on 
the left hand." 

Pope Gregory II died in February 731, and in the 
following year Boniface wrote to his successor Gre- Letter 

... from 

gory III, to give him some account of his missionary Gregory 
labours and to ask for his approval and friendship. 
The Pope replied by sending him the pall of an arch- 
bishop, and in the course of his letter he wrote : ^ 

" Great thankfulness possessed us when we read in 
the letter of your most holy brotherliness that by the 
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ you had turned very 
many from heathenism and error to the knowledge 
of the true faith. . . . You inform us that by the 
grace of our Lord crowds have been converted to the 
true faith, and that on this account you are unable to 
visit all and to teach them that which tends to salvation, 
since by the grace of Christ His faith is spread far and 

He then authorises him to ordain bishops to minister 
to the increasing Christian communities. Soon after 
this Boniface paid a brief visit to Bavaria, of which visit of 
Duke Hucpert was the ruler, but after deposing a schis- to*^^^ ^^^ 
matic named Eremulf, and " converting the people ^^v^^^^- 
from the idolatry of his perverse sect," he returned to He revisits 
his own diocese. In 738 he paid a third visit to Rome, ^^s^^' 

1 Ep. xxii. Migne, P. L. col. 721 f. 

2 Epistoloe 8, Gregorii III. i. Migne, P. L, Ixxxix. col. 575 f. 


where he spent the greater part of a year. His desire 
on setting out for Rome had been to reUnquish his 
labours in Hesse and Thuringia, and to devote the rest 
of his hf e to the prosecution of missionary work amongst 
the Saxons. The Pope, however, urged him to go to 
Bavaria, of which Odilo had become duke, and to reform 
and reorganize the work of the Church in that country. 
During his stay in Bavaria Boniface received a letter 
from Gregory III, in the course of which he 
wrote : 

" In the letters of your brotherhness you have told 
us of the peoples of Germany whom our God of His 
pity has freed from the power of the pagans, and to the 
number of a hundred thousand souls has deigned to 
gather into the bosom of Mother Church by means of 
your efforts and the help of Karl, prince of the Franks. 
We have read what you have done in the province of 
the Bavarians. . . . Confirm the hearts of the brethren 
and of all the faithful who are beginners in those 
western parts where God has opened further the way of 
salvation; desist not from preaching. ... Be not 
reluctant, most loved brother, to undertake rough and 
diverse journeys, that the Christian faith may be spread 
far and wide by your efforts." ^ 
Death of Gregory III and Charles Martel both died in 741. 
Martel 0^ the death of the latter his kingdom was divided 
^^^* between his sons Carloman and Pepin, the former 

receiving Austrasia, Swabia, and Thuringia, and the 
latter Neustria and Burgundy. Charles Martel had 
long opposed all efforts to introduce reform into the 
Prankish Church, but Carloman, soon after his acces- 

^ Epistolce S, Greg. III. vii. Migne, P. L. Ixxxix. col. 584. 


sion, sent for Boniface and urged him to undertake the 
reformation of the Church in his dominions. 

In one of the letters addressed by Pope Zacharias a question 
(741) to Boniface reference is made to a case which is baptism. 
of interest to those engaged in the work of pioneer 
Missions, and to which it would be possible to find 
parallels in other parts of the Mission-field. The story 
is best told in the words used by the Pope. He wrote : 

" Virgilius and Sedonius, religious persons dwelling 
in the province of the Bavarians, have sent letters to 
us, and have intimated that your reverend brotherliness 
has given them injunctions to re-baptize Christians. 
Hearing this, we were greatly disturbed and fell into 
wonderment if the thing is as is said. They have 
reported that a certain priest in the province, who was 
completely ignorant of Latin, said when in the act 
of baptizing, in broken Latin, 'Baptizo te in nomine 
Patria et Filia ^ et Spiritus Sancti.' And on this ground 
your brotherliness has thought that there should be 
re-baptism. But, most holy brother, if he who baptized 
did not introduce error or heresy, but from mere igno- 
rance of the Roman speech used broken Latin, we cannot 
agree that the persons should be re-baptized. For, as 
your holy brotherliness is well aware, anyone baptized 
by heretics in the name of the Father and the Son and 
the Holy Ghost ought by no means to be re-bap- 
tized, but should be cleansed by simple imposition of 
the hand." 2 Xhe principle involved in the incident 
to which the Pope here refers is one of far-reaching 

^ I.e. "fatherland and daughter" sancti." 
instead of " Father and Son," " Patris ^ Epistolce 8. Zacharice, vii. Migne, 

et Filii " ; one MS. reads " sancta for P. L. Ixxxix. col. 920. 


Teaching An Irishman named Virgilius, who has sometimes 
giiiu" been identified with the person mentioned by the Pope 
in the foregoing letter, was accused by Boniface of 
teaching perversely that there was another world and 
other men below the earth with a sun and moon of its 
own. It is not quite certain whether this Virgilius 
simply maintained the existence of the antipodes, or 
whether he believed in a race of fairies, but the con- 
demnation uttered by the Pope was expressed in no 
uncertain language. He wrote : 

" With regard to the perverse and iniquitous doctrine 
which he has uttered against God and his own soul, if 
it is made clear that he maintains that beneath the 
earth there is another world, with other men and a sun 
and moon, call a council, drive him out of the Church, 
depose him from the honour of priesthood." ^ 

The same or another Virgilius ^ was subsequently 
made bishop of Salzburg, and acted as a missionary 
in Carinthia. 
Boniface Bouiface showcd himself on many occasions a dutiful 
the'pope. servant of the Popes, but on one occasion at least he 
ventured to rebuke the Pope for his neghgence in 
allowing scandals to grow or to remain unchecked, 
and for compelling those to whom palls were to be 
given to make presents of money to himself. In a 
letter addressed to Pope Zacharias in 742 he rebukes 
him for allowing the clergy in Rome to be guilty of 
immoralities and for permitting the growth of pagan 
superstition in Rome itself, the existence of which 

1 Epistolce 8. Zacharim, xi. Migne, of this and the other two who bore 

P. L. Ixxxix. col. 946 f., dated May 1, the same name see Boniface of Credi- 

74g. ton and his Companions, by Bishop 

» For a discussion of the identity Browne, p. 107 f. 


caused scandal in Germany and in other countries 
far distant from Rome.^ 

In another letter to Pope Zacharias (in 742) Boniface Forma- 
announced that he had divided his province and had dioceses!^ 
established bishoprics at Wirzaburg (Wiirzburg), Bura- 
burg, and Erphesfurt (Erfurt). Of these new bishoprics 
the last, which he describes as having been a city of 
rustic pagans,^ was to serve Thuringia, Buraburg was 
to serve Hessia, and Wiirzburg, part of what was after- 
wards called Franconia. The first bishop of Buraburg 
was an Englishman named Witta, who was one of the 
missionaries who came out to work with Boniface. 
The first bishop of Wiirzburg was another Englishman 
named Burchardt from Malmesbury. Reference has 
already been made to Kihan^ who is said to have 
laboured in Eastern Franconia seventy years before the 
time of Burchardt, and to have been consecrated by the 
Pope as a '' regionary Bishop." He and two companions 
were murdered by orders of Geilana, the wife of the duke, 
whose marriage Kilian had declared to be incestuous. 

One of Boniface's pupils who did much to promote 
the extension of missionary work in Bavaria was 
Sturmi, the first abbot of the famous monastery ofsturmi. 
Fulda. He had been entrusted to the care of Boniface 
by his parents in Bavaria, and was placed under the 
charge of the Enghsh Wigbert, the first abbot of Fritzlar. 
After being ordained priest he laboured for three years 
as a missionary amongst pagans, at the end of which 
time he asked that he might be allowed to live a monastic 
life. Boniface, who desired to found a strong centre 

* Ep. xlix. 3 See above, p. 352. His Life was 

2 " Urbs paganorum rusticonim.'* written by Servatus Lupus about 836. 
2 A 


of missionary work in the direction of Bavaria, sent 
Sturmi to explore the great beech-forest of Buchonia, 
which then occupied a large part of Central Germany, 
in order that he might choose a suitable site for a new 
Founda- monastery. The site, which was selected on the river 
monastery Fulda, haviug been obtained from Carloman, Sturmi 
atFuida. ^^^ scveu compauious began the task of clearing the 
forest on January 12, 744. Two months later Boniface 
arrived and commenced the building of a stone church. 
Sturmi was sent to study the monastic life for two years 
at Rome and Monte Cassino, and was then placed in 
charge of the new monastery, which before his death 
contained 400 monks. 
Paganism From WilHbald's Life of Boniface we can gather a 
many. ^^ f^w particulars in regard to the rehgious practices of 
the pagans in Northern and Central Germany. They 
worshipped trees and springs and sacrificed the flesh 
of various animals, and before undertaking any im- 
portant business they were accustomed to practise 
A Chris- augurics or to cast lots. The form in which converts 
cMsm^^^ to the Christian faith were asked by Boniface to renounce 
the worship of idols and to declare their belief in God 
has been preserved. It runs as follows : 

" Q. Dost thou forsake the devil ? A. 1 forsake the 

" Q. And all the devil's wage ? A. And I forsake all 
the devil's wage. 

" Q. And all the devil's works ? A. And I forsake 
all the devil's works and words, Thunor and Woden and 
Saxnote,^ and all the fiends that are their companions. 

^ Saxnote or Saxneat was regarded Woden. Possibly the word Saxon is 
by the East Saxons as the son of derived from it. 


" Q. Dost thou believe in God the Father Almighty ? 
A. I believe in God the Father Almighty. 

" Q. Dost thou beUeve in Christ the Son of God ? 
A. I beUeve in Christ the Son of God. 

"Q. Dost thou believe in the Holy Ghost? A. I 
believe in the Holy Ghost." ^ 

In 742, after an interval of more than eighty years, a council 
a council of Frankish clergy was held. One of the fsh^itrgy, 
decrees issued by Carloman on the authority of this ^'^^' 
council reveals the existence of pagan observances 
amongst those who were nominally Christians. It 
reads thus : 

" We have decreed that, according to the canons, 
each bishop in his own diocese shall take anxious care, 
with the help of the count, who is the protector of the 
Church, that the people of God do not perform pagan its refer- 
rites, but entirely put away and spurn all heathen ^""^^^ *^ 
impurities. Sacrifices for the dead, soothsaying, divin- 
ing, phylacteries, auguries, incantations, immolations 
which foolish men carry on with pagan rites near the 
churches under the name of holy martjni^s or confessors, 
provoking to anger God and His saints, those sacri- 
legious fires which they call niedfyor^^ indeed all pagan 
observances, whatever they may be, they must dihgently 
prohibit. . . . We have decreed also, as my father 
had before decreed, that whosoever performs pagan 
observances in any respect be mulcted in fifteen 

1 For a photographic facsimile of ^ Niedfyor apparently denotes the 

this abfenuntiatio see Boniface and his rubbing of dry sticks together to 

CowpanioTW, by Bishop Browne (whose make a fire, through the smoke of 

translation of the old Saxon words I which persons and animals passed, 
have used), p. 212. 

pagan cus- 


Reforma- At a couHcil held by Pepin at Soissons in 744 decrees 
^ankih"^ of a similar character were passed, and in the following 
Church, y^^p Pepin and Carloman brought together a joint 
council under the presidency of Boniface, which in- 
augurated an extensive reformation of the Prankish 
Boniface's In 753 Bouiface, now an old man, wrote from Mainz 
Kn,*"" to Puldrad, chaplain to Pepin, who had been crowned 
'^^^- as king in the previous year, begging for an assurance 

that the band of missionary workers whom he had 
gathered round him would not be dispersed or suffered 
to want material support in the event of his own death. 
In the course of this letter he wrote : 
Heap- " I pray our king's highness for the name of Christ 

thfsup' the Son of God, that he would deign to inform and 
P.^^*f^^ command me, while I still live, about my disciples, 

disciples. , _ 

what means of support he will after (my death) provide 
for them. For almost all of them are foreigners 
{peregrini). Some are priests appointed in many places 
to minister to the Church and peoples, some are monks 
in our cells, and yoimg boys set to learn to read, and 
some are old and have for a long time lived with me and 
laboured and helped me. I am anxious about all of 
these, that they may not be dispersed on my death, 
but may receive from your highness the means of 
subsistence and protection, not scattered as sheep not 
having a shepherd, and that the people near the pagan 
border {marca) may not lose the law of Christ. For 
the same reason I earnestly in God's name pray . . . 
that you would appoint my dear son and fellow-bishop 
Lul to this ministry of peoples and churches, and make 
him preacher and teacher of priests and peoples. . . . 


But this especially I beg may be secured, that my priests 
near the pagan border may have some poor livelihood. 
Bread to eat they can obtain, but clothing they cannot 
find there, and must obtain from elsewhere by means 
of those able and willing to help them to live and endure 
in those places for the ministry of the people, even as 
I in a similar way have helped them." ^ 

From this letter we gather that the number of English 
missionaries who were working under Boniface's direc- 
tion was very large, and that their work had not been 
self-supporting or maintained by the voluntary con- 
tributions of their fellow-Christians, but had been to a 
considerable extent dependent upon a subsidy supplied 
either by the king or the archbishop. 

In a letter addressed to Pope Stephen III (apparently invasion 
in 755) Boniface refers to an invasion of heathen Saxons slx^s^^"" 
as an excuse for not having written to him before, and 
describes himself as '' being pre-occupied with the res- 
toration of the churches that the pagans have burned. 
They have devastated," he says, " and burned more 
than thirty churches." ^ 

For a long time before writing this letter to King 
Pepin Boniface had desired to devote what was left 
of his life to missionary work amongst pagans, and 
specially amongst the Frisians, to whom he had 
attempted to preach on the occasion of his first visit 
to the Continent. He was now aged seventy-five.^ 
Having secured the appointment of Lul as his successor, 
and the assurance that his other fellow-workers would 
not be allowed to suffer want, he made preparations for 

^ Ep, Ixxix. Cf. Migne, P. L. Ixxxix. col. 779. 

« Ep, Ixxvui. Migne, P. L. Ixxix. col. 779. 3 See above, p. 340. 


a missionary campaign amongst the heathen Fries- 
landers, a campaign which he clearly foresaw would 
result in his own martyrdom. 
Final visit The account of his final visit to Frisia and of his 

to Fnsia. i i i i i • • 

death there can best be given m the words of his first 
biographer, Willibald. Before setting out on his 
voyage down the Rhine he said to Lul : 

'' From my longed-for journey I shall not return, 
for the day of my departure is already at hand, and 
the time of my death draws near. I shall lay down this 
work-house (ergastulum) of my body and pass to the 
prize (br avium) of eternal recompense. . . . My son, get 
ready everything that you can think of for my use 
in this journey, and in my chest of books place the 
linen shroud in which my decrepit body shall be 
rolled." 1 

He embarked in a boat on the Rhine accompanied 
by three priests, three deacons, four monks, and forty- 
one laymen, and was joined at Utrecht by Eoban,^ 
whom he had himself placed in charge of this see. 
Their destination was Eastern Frisia, part of which 
Converts is uow covcred by the Zuyder Zee. Missionary work 
Frisia. was Carried on by them amongst several different 
tribes, and in a short time^ a number of churches 
were built and thousands of men, women, and little 
children were baptized. After much successful work 
had been accomplished the missionaries, who had 
been scattered over a wide area, were summoned by 
Boniface to meet him about Whitsuntide near Dokkum, 
about twenty miles N.W. of Groningen, in order that 

^ Vita. Migne, P. L. Ixxxix. col. name as Coebaneus. 
626 f. ^ "post paucos dies." Othlo. 

2 So Othlo ; Willibald gives the 


the rite of confirmation might be administered to many 
of those who had been recently baptized. 

The pagan Frisians, who had become aware of the Martyr- 
gathering, resolved to put an end at once to the mis- 
sionaries and their work, and on the appointed day, 
which was apparently the Tlmrsday in the second week 
after Whitsunday (June 5, 755),^ they rushed upon the 
Christians, who numbered fifty-two, brandishing their 
spears. Whilst some of the members of Boniface's party 
prepared to defend him, he called the clergy round 
him and, taking the relics of the saints which it was 
his custom to carry with him, he thus addressed the 
Christians : 

" Cease, my children, from conflict, and put aside His last 
your purpose of battle, for by testimony of the Scrip- 
tures we are bidden to return not evil for evil but good 
for evil. For now is the long-desired day, and the 
voluntary time of our departure is at hand. Be strong 
therefore in the Lord, and suffer wiUingly that which 
He permits ; set your hopes on Him, and He will 
deliver your souls." 

To the priests and deacons and those of inferior order 
vowed to the service of God, speaking as with the voice 
of a father, he said : 

" Brothers, be of brave mind, and fear not those 
that kill the body, but cannot kill the soul that has 
an endless life, but rejoice in the Lord and fix on Him 
the anchor of your hope. He will forthwith give to 
you for ever your reward, and will grant to you a seat 
in the hall of heaven with the angelic citizens on high. 

^ According to the Annales Fulden- 754. See Hauck, K. D. vol. i. p. 
ses the year of the martyrdom was 590 f . 


. . . Receive with constancy this momentary blow of 
death, that ye may reign with Christ for ever." ^ 

The pagans forthwith rushed upon the Kttle band 
of Christians and killed them. His biographer tells us 
that the last words which Boniface spoke were uttered 
Punish- in the English language. A retributive punishment, 
his^ur- which Willibald regarded as divinely ordered,^ speedily 
derers. overtook the murderers. The pagans had expected 
to find gold and other treasures in the tents of the 
Christians, and after massacring them, fought furiously 
amongst themselves in order to decide who should 
become the owners of the expected booty. When, 
however, the survivors from the fight undid the cases 
in which they expected to find gold, they found nothing 
but manuscripts and cases of relics, which they scattered 
on the ground in rage and disappointment. Three 
days later the survivors were attacked by a band of 
armed Christians, who put to death the murderers, 
and carried off their wives and children and servants, 
whom they eventually forced to become Christians. 

One of the modern biographers of Boniface, dis- 
cussing wherein his strength lay, writes : 
Character " God's wiU was everything to him. His own will 
face.^'^^ was strong and resolute, but he never showed signs of 
self-will. He seems at times to submit his will, or to 
propose to submit his will, too completely to his friend 
and superior seated on the spiritual throne in Rome. 
But it was his will, not his conscience, that he sub- 
mitted. ... A ruler of men, he was a friend of men ; 
stern, he was gentle and tender. Reliant on God for 

^ Vita. Migne, P. L. Ixxxix. col. ^ "mirabili omnipotentis Dei dis- 

628 f. positione." 


guidance and grace, he prized deeply, and depended 
greatly upon, the affectionate sympathy of men and 
women, whether close at hand or separated from him 
by continent and ocean. We cannot doubt that his 
missionary success was due in large part to the fact 
that he was so very human. The need for human 
sympathy and affection grew and grew upon him till 
it became the dominant note of his communications 
with friends and, indeed, vnth. strangers too. ... To 
take the knowledge of Christ to the heathen who had 
it not was much more congenial to a man of his tem- 
perament, of his gifts, than the work of dealing with 
the errors, the vices, of those who had the knowledge 
of Christ and lived worse than the heathen lived. The 
one was the impulse of his heart, the other was a task, 
a burden imposed upon him from without. . . , The 
moment he can properly escape from the ungrateful 
task of governing self-willed and heathenish Christians 
he goes off joyfully to the pagan fields once more, in 
the work so dear to his heart of hearts, to do and to 
die." 1 

To quote another modern writer, who writes from 
the country in which Boniface's work was done. Professor 
Hauck, of Leipzig, says : 

" As an individual he was only distinguished by the 
fact that he was what all were, only purer, truer, and 
fuller then all. His character was greater than his 
talent. On this account he stands high as a moral 
personality ; he was a straightforward and true man, 
who in his work sought not his own interest, but under- 
took it in the capacity of a servant. . . . His letters 

^ Boniface and his Companions, by Bishop G. F. Browne, pp. 279-81. 


reveal a rare capacity for love, a lively need for friend- 
ship. It is significant that the words ' Hold fast to 
an old friend ' were often on his lips. ... He is the 
type of a man belonging to the Middle Ages in that 
he undertook without questioning that which authority 
commanded, and without reflecting whether it were 
right, held fast to it ; . . . with the strength of a con- 
viction that was never shattered by doubt, a loyalty 
to duty, and a spirit of conscientiousness were com- 
bined a gift of leadership and the inherited tenacity 
{angeerbte ZdhigJceit) of the Anglo-Saxon nature. Herein 
lies the secret of his success." ^ 
His re- The supreme importance which Boniface attached to 

interces^ iuterccssory prayer, and the eagerness with which he 
prayer, sought to obtain from his friends the help of their 
prayers for the accomplishment of his missionary work, 
might be illustrated again and again from his own 
letters. Two examples will suffice. 

In a letter addressed to Cuthbert, the abbot of 
Wearmouth and Jarrow, dated about 735, he 
writes : 

" With heart-felt prayers we entreat the piety of your 
brotherliness that we may be helped by your devout 
petitions who labour among the fierce and ignorant 
peoples of Germany and are planting the seed of the 
Gospel, that the fierce heat of the Babylonish furnace 
may be extinguished in us, and the few seeds scattered 
in the furrows, may spring up and multiply." ^ 

In a letter addressed to Archbishop Egbert in 
Northumbria he writes : 

^ Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, ^ Ep. xxxvii. Migne, P. L. Ixxxix. 

vol. i. p. 592 f. co]. 735 f. 


" With heart-felt prayers we entreat your clemency, 
that your piety would pray for us in our labours and 
dangers, for great necessity presses upon us to seek the 
help of the just, as it is written, ' The persistent prayer 
of a just man availeth much.' " ^ 

It would appear from a study of Boniface's letters Prayers 
and the answers addressed to him that have been uvi^g^nd 
preserved that he did much to estabUsh and to sys- *^^^*^- 
tematise the custom which prevailed soon after his 
time that bishops, heads of monasteries, and other 
persons should keep a Ust of persons both Hving and 
dead for whom they were pledged to pray at regular 
and frequent intervals. The "Fraternity book," or 
" Confraternity book," belonging to a monastery con- 
tained a list of those for whom the prayers of its inmates 
had been promised, and frequent additions were made 
to its contents. 

His letters contain references to several persons with 
whom, as with Daniel, Bishop of Winchester, he had 
entered into a definite contract for mutual intercessory 

Although Boniface's activities were confined to aPerman- 
small section of Germany, his work left a permanent of hr""^^' 
impress upon the ecclesiastical organization of the 
ChiKch throughout that country, and to a lesser extent 
upon its spiritual life and ideals. He had great mis- 
sionary successors, such as Otto, ViceUn, and Adalbert 
of JuUn; but if we take into account the fact that, 
unlike these, he was content to rely almost entirely 
upon moral and spiritual influences for the furtherance 
of his designs, we cannot but feel that he has a just 

^ Ep. xxxviii. Migne, P. L. Ixxxix. col. 738. a.d. 736. 



claim to the title by which he has been designated, 
the '' Apostle of Germany." 
sturmiat We havc already alluded to the foundation of the 
monastery at Fulda and to the appointment of Sturmi 
as its abbot.i In consequence of a quarrel with Arch- 
bishop Lul, from whose jurisdiction the Pope had 
exempted the monastery of Fulda, Sturmi was for a 
time driven away from Fulda by order of Pepin. 
He was, however, eventually restored and continued 
his task of superintending the monastery and of pre- 
paring those who might act as missionaries in the 
surrounding districts. 

The Conversion of the Saxons 

Charie- In 772 Charlemagne began the first of a series of 
wars with wars wliich he waged against the Saxons. The Saxons 
Saxons, ^t this date occupied the greater part of Northern 
Germany and were divided into three principal tribes, 
the Ostphalians, the Westphalians and the Angarians. 
Charlemagne was convinced that the safety and well- 
being of Europe depended not only upon their conquest 
in battle but upon their conversion to the Christian 
Opposi- faith. At this period the Saxons possessed few towns, 
Saxons to or large villages, and inhabited the " endless forests, 
dtlt^!' thi^ broad heaths and the trackless swamps " which 
constituted a large part of Northern Germany. They 
knew that the profession of Christianity would be 
followed by the building of churches and that the 
churches which the missionaries would build would in 

^ The life of Sturmi was written by intimately for more than twenty 
Eigilis who was a monk at Fulda years. The life is given in Migne, 
from 818 to 822, and had known him P. L. cv. col. 422 ff. 


course of time become centres of villages and eventually 
of towns subject to a stable form of government. Un- 
willing as they were to abandon their roving and 
migratory habits, it was but natural that they should 
vehemently oppose the spread of Christianity in their 
midst. It is a matter for profound regret that Christian Results 
missionaries were never afforded the opportunity off^^^cibie 
bringing to bear upon them moral and spiritual influ- ^p^^e^^- 
ences, but were handicapped by the knowledge which 
the Saxons possessed that to hsten to their preaching 
would be the prelude to the break-up of their social 
and political Hfe. The history of Germany would 
have been far happier than it has been, and its present 
prospects would be very different from what they are, 
had the ancestors of the Germanic peoples been con- 
verted to Christianity by missionaries instead of by 
soldiers. It would have been better for the Saxons if, 
Hke the inhabitants of Gaul, they could first have been 
conquered and to some extent civilized by a non- 
Christian power and could subsequently have received 
their Christianity from independent missionaries. 

At the opening of the ninth century Charlemagne charie- 
(742-814) ruled without a rival from the Baltic to thermplif 
R. Ebro in the Spanish Peninsula, and from the EngUsh 
Channel far down into Italy. His wars with the Saxons 
resulted in the addition to his empire of the greater 
part of the territories now included in Germany. He His char- 
had a real and deep regard for religion,^ and we' 
must not allow his disregard of Christian morality 2 

1 His biographer wrote of him, Migne, P. L. xcviii. col. 50. 
"religionem christianam qua ab in- 2 gee Milman's Latin Christianity, 

fantia fuerat imbutus sanctissime et ii. 279, ''the religious Emperor . 

cum summa pietate coluit." Vita. troubled not himself with the re- 



and the savage cruelty with which his wars were 
frequently waged to prevent us from recognizing 
His social the fact that he strove honestly and with a large 
Hgious measure of success to raise the moral and intellectual 
reforms, condition of the clergy throughout his wide dominions. 
In Neustria and Burgundy especially, where the in- 
fluence of Boniface had hardly been felt, Charlemagne 
effected real and lasting reforms. Under the guidance 
of Alcuin he founded schools for the training of mission- 
aries and other clergy and by this means did much to 
raise the intellectual standard of the Church. At 
fifty-six diets or synods, held during the thirty years 
of his reign, Church reform was discussed and many 
measures were passed which were for the welfare of 
the Church and its work. Though the language em- 
ployed grates upon our ears,^ as we remember the hfe 
and character of the writer, we cannot doubt the sincerity 
of the appeals which he addressed from time to time to 
the bishops and other representatives of the Church, and 
the leaders of missionary enterprise. In one addressed 
to Archbishop Odilbert of Milan in 811, which is typical 
of many others, he wrote : 
His letter '' Although wc are aware that your holiness is intent 
Odilbert. ^ud watchful in sacred matters, we cannot but urge 
and exhort you by our letters, inspired by the Holy 

straints of religion. The humble or he wrote: — "It is our privilege, 

grateful Church beheld meekly, and according to the help vouchsafed to 

almost without remonstrance, the ir- us by the divine mercy, to defend by 

regularity of domestic life which not arms in all places the holy church of 

merely indulged in free licence, but Christ from the incursions of pagans 

treated the sacred rite of marriage as and the devastations of unbelievers, 

a covenant dissoluble at his pleasure." without and within to fortify it by 

On the death of his fourth wife "he the recognition of the Catholic faith." 

was content with four concubines.*' See Migne, P. L. xcviii. col. 108. 
^ In a letter to Pope Leo III (796) 


Spirit, to labour in the Church of God ever more zeal- 
ously and more vigilantly in preaching and in teaching 
wholesome doctrine, that through your most devoted 
skill the word of eternal life may increase and spread 
and the number of Christian people may be multiphed 
to the praise and glory of God our Saviour. We desire 
to know both by letter and from yourself in what 
manner you and your suffragans teach and instruct 
the priests and the people committed to you concerning 
the sacrament of baptism, why an infant is first made 
a catechumen, . . . concerning the Creed how it is 
interpreted by the Latins, . . . concerning the re- 
nunciation of the devil and all his works and pomps, 
what is renunciation and what are his works and 
pomps ? . . . All these things be diligent to tell us 
precisely in writing." ^ 

In or about 775 an English missionary Lebuin, to Lebuin. 
whose work at Deventer in Holland we have already 
alluded,^ determined to appeal in person to the Saxons 
at their annual gathering at Marklum (Markelo) in 
Saxony, near the R. Weser. Arrayed in priestly 
garments, with an uplifted cross in one hand and a 
copy of the Gospels in the other hand, he presented 
himself to the Saxons as they were about to offer 
sacrifices to their national gods, who, amazed at his 
courageous bearing, gave him at first an attentive 
hearing. The following are the words of his address 
as recorded by his biographer : 

'' Hearken unto me, and not so much to me, as to His appeal 
Him who speaks to you through me. I declare untogaxoLat 
you the commands of Him whom all things serve and ^^^^i"^- 

1 Migne, P. L. xcviii. col. 933. ^ See above, p. 341 f. 


obey. Hearken, attend, and know that God is the 
Creator of heaven and earth, the sea and all things 
that are therein. He is the oile, only and true God. 
He made us and not we ourselves, nor is there any 
other beside Him. The images which ye think to be 
gods, and which, beguiled by the devil, ye worship, are 
but gold, or silver, or brass, or stone, or wood. . . . God, 
the only good and righteous Being, whose mercy and 
truth remain for ever, moved with pity that ye 
should be thus seduced by the errors of demons, has 
charged me as His ambassador to beseech you to lay 
aside your old errors, and to turn with sincere and 
true faith to Him by whose goodness ye were created. 
In Him you and all of us hve and move and have our 
being. If ye will truly acknowledge Him, and repent 
and be baptized, in the name of the Father, the Son 
and the Holy Ghost, and will obediently keep His 
commandments, then will He preserve you from all 
evil, and will grant unto you the blessings of peace 
here, and in the life to come the enjoyment of all good 
things. But if ye despise and reject His most salutary 
counsels and refuse to correct the error of your wicked 
heart, know that ye will suffer terrible punishment for 
scorning His merciful warning. Behold I declare unto 
you the sentence which has gone forth from His mouth 
and which cannot change: if ye do not obey His 
commands, then will sudden destruction come upon 
He you. For the king of all the heavens hath appointed 

threatens ^ ^^^^^^ prudcut and most vigorous prince who is not 
Saxons^ afar off, but close at hand. He, Kke a most swift 
struction. torreut, will burst upon you and subdue the ferocity 
of your hearts, and crush your stiff-necked obstinacy. 


He shall invade your land with a mighty host, and 
ravage the whole with fire and sword, desolation and 
destruction. As the avenger [vindex) of the wrath 
of that God, whom ye ever provoke, he shall slay some 
of you with the sword, some he shall cause to waste 
away in poverty and want, some he shall destroy with 
the misery of a perpetual captivity, and your wives 
and children he will scatter far and wide as slaves 
and the residue of you he will reduce to a most 
ignominious subjection, that in you may be fulfilled 
what has long since been predicted, ' they were made 
few in number and were tormented with the tribulation 
and anguish of the wicked.' " ^ 

It would be hard to conceive a bolder address or, Opposi- 
we must add, one less likely to appeal to the untamed voked^^ 
warriors to which it was addressed. To threaten them ^^^^^sg 
and their wives and children with destruction at the 
hands of their most hated foes, in order to induce them 
to accept the religion of their foes, was an act which 
was far from fulfilling the command given by Christ 
to His first missionaries to combine the wisdom of the 
serpent with the harmlessness of the dove. We are 
not surprised to read that the closing sentences of this 
missionary address were received by the audience with 
unrestrained anger. " Here is that seducer," they 
cried, '^ that enemy of our sacred rites and of our whole 
country ; it is right that he should pay with his blood 
the penalty he has deserved." The speakers proceeded 
to pull up palings and to pick up stones in order to put 
their threats into execution, and it would have fared 

^ Vita Lehuini. Migne, P. L. written by Hucbald of St. Amand 
cxxxii. col. 888 ff. The Ufe was (918-976). 
2 B 


Speech by badly with the missionary had it not been for the kindly 
intervention of an aged chief named Bruto, who, having 
obtained a hearing from the excited gathering, spoke 
thus : 

"Ye that are prudent {quicunque adestis cordati), 
listen to my words. Many a time have ambassadors 
come to us from the Normans, the Slavs and the Fries- 
landers, whom, as is our custom, we have received in 
peace and to whose words we have listened dihgently, 
and we have dismissed them to their homes loaded 
with presents. Behold now an ambassador of the 
supreme God who has announced to us words of life 
and of our salvation, hath not only been contemned 
and despised by us, but has been injured and almost 
deprived of life. That the God who sent him hither 
is great and powerful is plain from the fact that He 
has delivered His servant out of our hands. Be assured 
then that what he has threatened will certainly come 
to pass, and those judgments he has denounced will 
come upon us from a God who is so powerful." His 
intervention proved effective and the intrepid missionary 
was permitted to depart without further molestation. 
Charie- Charlemagne's campaigns against the Saxons which 

J^hI^^us lasted for 32 years, from 772 to 804, were undertaken, 
according to his contemporary biographer, Eginhard, 
with the avowed object of exterminating heathenism 
and of converting the Saxons to the Christian faith. 
The Saxons, who occupied the whole of North Germany 
from the Baltic southwards along the borders of the 
Prankish kingdom, were divided into three principal 
tribes, but each separate clan was practically an in- 
dependent unit, and the lack of any central authority 



rendered it well-nigh impossible for Charlemagne to 
make treaties which would prove binding upon the 
Saxons as a single race. His so-called religious wars 
were carried on with a ferocity and barbarism which 
have seldom been surpassed. It is true that the Saxons 
respected neither sex nor age and massacred nearly 
all the inhabitants of the districts which they over- 
ran, but the Christian king was no whit behind them 
in ruthlessness and perfidy, and on one occasion he 
massacred in cold blood, at Verden on the R. Aller, four 
thousand Saxon warriors who had surrendered. It is 
satisfactory to read that he would not, as a rule, allow 
any clergy to accompany his expeditions and that he 
issued more than one edict prohibiting clergy from 
bearing arms. When, however, a campaign was over and 
the carnage was completed, he would send for clergy to 
baptize the survivors and to enrol them as members 
of the Christian Church. 

Alcuin 1 and one or two others dared to protest against Aicuin 
the policy of forcing heathen peoples to become nominal agai^st^ 
Christians, but without effect. Thus Alcuin wrote ingf^^P""^" 
a letter addressed to Charlemagne in 796 after the 
subjugation of the Huns : — 

" Let your most wise and God-pleasing piety provide 
for the new people pious preachers, of honest Ufe, learned 
in the knowledge of the holy faith." ^ In the same letter 
he urges that the adults amongst the conquered peoples 
should not be baptized till they have first been care- 
fully taught, "lest the washing by holy baptism of 

^ Alcuin, after having been the and died in 804. 

head of the seminary at York, spent ^ ^^^ xxxiii. Migne, P. L. c. col, 

several years at the court of Charle- 188. See above, p. 302 f . 
magne. He retired to Tours in 801 


and the body profit nothing." He protests too against 

theTx- the exaction of tithes from those who had but recently 
t'thes'!''^ been made Christians. 

In the same year (796) in a letter addressed to Megen- 
frid, one of the principal advisers of Charlemagne, 
Alcuin wrote : — 

" If the easy yoke and the light burden of Christ 
had been preached to this most hard race, the Saxons, 
with as great insistence as the rendering of tithes was 
required and the legal penalties for the very smallest 
faults, it may be that they would not have abhorred 
the sacrament of baptism. (As to those who are sent 
to teach them) let them preach, not prey." ^ 

A tenth-century collection of Alcuin's letters includes 
a report written by Paulinus the patriarch of Aquileia, 
which describes a discussion that took place at a meeting 
of bishops in 796 on the subject of the (forcible) baptism 
of the Huns. 2 
EigiUs on As a coucrctc instance of the way in which the con- 
version version of the Saxons was effected by Charlemagne, 
Saxons, ^c may quote a statement by EigiKs the biographer of 

After consulting the clergy and summoning the abbot 
of Fulda to join him, Charlemagne assembled a great 
army and having invoked the name of Christ, set out 
for Saxony, " attended by a numerous retinue of priests, 
abbots and orthodox adherents of the true faith, in 
order to induce a nation, which from the beginning of 
the world had been tied and bound with the chains of 
demons, to believe the sacred doctrines and submit 

^ "sint praedicatores, non prsedatores. " ^ gp^ Browne, Alcuin, 288. 
Ep. xlii. Migne, P. L. c. col. 205. 


to the light and easy yoke of Christ. And on his arrival 
in their country, partly by war, partly by persuasion, 
partly also by gifts, he won over to a large extent that 
race to the faith, and shortly afterwards dividing the 
whole of that province into dioceses, he empowered 
the clergy to teach and baptize." ^ This campaign closed 
with the destruction of the celebrated Saxon idol thenestruc- 
Irmin-Saule, near Eresburg on the R. Drimel. Itj"*^^ 
was a lofty pillar, or the trunk of a gigantic tree, which ^^'^^^ ^^^^• 
had been consecrated by immemorial reverence. Irmin 
appears to have been the name of a national god or 
demi-god. If we can accept the statements of Meibom, 
who was a careful investigator of mediaeval history 
and who wrote in the sixteenth century, the colunrn, 
was of stone, and bore the figure of an imposing 
warrior girt with a sword. On his helmet stood a cock, 
on his breast was carved a bear and on his shield a 
Hon. In his right hand he held a standard on which 
was painted a red rose, in his left hand was a balance. 
According to Rudolf of Fulda the Irmin-Saule was 
" the trunk of a tree of great size which the Saxons 
worshipped and which they regarded as supporting 
the world." 2 

The military part of the campaign having been Mission- 
successful, Sturmi was entrusted by Charlemagne withoPsS! 
the spiritual oversight of the Saxons and, with the 
assistance of the monks at Fulda, he essayed the difficult 

^ Vita Sturmi, by Eigilis. Migne, ^ "patriaeum lingua Irminsulappel- 

P. L, cv. col. 441 f . In another lantes, quod Latine dicitur universalis 

passage Eigilis describes the Saxons columna quasi sustinens omnia. " See 

as " gens saeva et infestissima cunctis Milman's Latin Christianity, ii. 283 n. 

et paganis vitiis nimis dedita," and See also Turner's Anglo-Saxons, i. 

again as "gens praeva et perversa a p. 224. 
fide Christ i devians." 


task of appealing to the consciences of those who had 
perforce accepted the profession of Christianity, and of 
inducing them to abandon the pagan rites and super- 
stitions that had been handed down to them by their 
Rising of Before his labours had been productive of much 
Saxons, rcsult the Saxons rose again in arms (in 778) and 
^^^' advanced towards Fulda, resolved to destroy the mona- 
stery and to obliterate, if it might be, all traces of 
the religion to which they had become unwilling con- 
verts. Before, however, they had time to carry out 
their intention Charlemagne met them in battle. 

Sturmi, who had hastily retired from Fulda on the 
approach of the Saxons, eventually returned to the 
monastery, but the sickness from which he had been 
suffering for some time previously having been aggra- 
vated by the anxiety through which he had passed, 
he died soon after his return. 
Death of When he perceived that he was about to die, he 
m^^' ordered the monastery bells to be rung and the brothers 
to assemble, to whom he announced his approaching 
death, begging at the same time for their prayers. 
He then declared that he forgave all who had offended 
him, including his chief opponent Archbishop Lul, and 
promised his prayers on behalf of the brethren in 
response to their earnest request. He died on December 
17, 779. 

By the beginning of the ninth century the nominal 
conversion of the Saxons was practically completed. 
One reason why their conversion proved to be a much 
longer and more arduous task than was the conversion 
of the Franks, was that to the Saxons their ancestral 


religion meant far more than it had ever done to their 
enemies. Their reKgion influenced their every act, influence 
and no decision was arrived at, and no journey under- ism on the 
taken, without consulting the omens that were supposed 
to reveal the will of the gods. Their long-continued 
practice of offering human beings in sacrifice testifies 
to the reality of their belief in the power of their gods, 
and when, after a protracted struggle, Christianity 
obtained an outward and visible triumph, pagan beliefs 
and pagan practices were for long intermixed with the 
teaching and observances of the Christian faith.^ 

Wendland (Saxonia) 
The Slavs first appear in European history under the The 


name of Wends. Pliny (d. 79) says that among the 
peoples living on the other side of the Vistula beside 
the Sarmatians are the Wends (Venedi). Tacitus 
makes a similar statement.^ In the sixth century the 
Wends reappear under the name of Slavs.^ The original Their 
home of the Slavs in South-Eastern Europe was probably home. 
between the Vistula and the Dnieper. 

From the times of Charlemagne repeated efforts 
were made to incorporate within the Prankish Empire 
and convert to the Christian faith the various Slavonian 
tribes who bore the name of Wends and who lived on 
the north and eastern borders of Germany, between 
the Elbe, the Oder and the Saale, but from a missionary 
point of view these attempts met with scant success. 

^ See Hauck's Kirchengeschichie und der Christlichen Religion." 
Deutschlands y 405-S : " bildete sich der ^ q^^^ 45^ 

Volksaberglaube gleichsam eine mitt- ^ The Sorbs of Lusatia are still 

lere Schicht z »vischen dem Heidentum called Wends by the Germans. 

* 392 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xiv. 

First mis- Few of the missionaries made a serious attempt to 
to the master the Slavonian language and the foreign character 
Wends. ^£ ^j^^ Missiou excited the prejudices of those to whom 
it was intended to appeal. 

It was not till, as a result of repeated wars and in- 
surrections, a great part of the population had been 
exterminated, that the Christian Church became estab- 
lished in their country. 
Boso, Boso the first bishop of Merseburg (which is situated 

of the^ in the present province of Saxony) has been called the 
Wends. Apostle of the Wends. He was a Benedictine monk of 
St. Emmeram in Ratisbon, and was sent by Otto I 
in 936 to work as a missionary amongst the Wends. 
By making a careful study of their language and by 
preaching to them in their own tongue he endeavoured 
to overcome their prejudices against their German 
conquerors, and in 968 he was able to arrange for the 
formation of three sees, Merseburg, Meissen and Zeitz, 
of the first of which he became bishop, whilst Hugo 
was appointed bishop of Zeitz, and Burchard bishop of 
Three mis- Meissen. Thcsc three missionary bishops were con- 
b^hopl secrated on Christmas Day 968 by Adalbert bishop of 
Magdeburg. After his consecration Boso continued 
his missionary labours, and died in 970 whilst visiting 
his native province of Bavaria. Inasmuch as the 
missionary enterprise was inextricably connected with 
the constantly changing political conditions of the 
country, the repeated efforts made by the Wends to 
expel their German conquerors reacted directly upon 
the success attained by the Christian missionaries. 
Each fresh rebellion was in fact coincident with an 
attempt to expel the missionaries and to obliterate 


their work. In 983 a Slavonic chief named Mistewoi, Pagan 
who had become a Christian and was attached to theu^nder'^ 
Emperor's com*t, roused by personal injuries which he^^®*^^*^^ 
had received, summoned his fellow-countrymen to meet 
at Rethre, which had been a centre of pagan worship, 
and having raised the standard of rebellion, proceeded 
to waste parts of Northern Germany with fire and sword 
and to destroy all the churches and monasteries. At a 
later period Gottschalk, a grandson of Mistewoi, who 
had received a Christian education at Liineburg, 
exasperated at the murder of Udo bis father, raised 
another rebellion and devastated the districts of Ham- 
burg and Holstein. 

After destroying many of the Christian churches heconver- 
was eventually filled with remorse and vowed (1047) oott-^^ 
that he would try to atone for his evil conduct by^^^^^* 
endeavouring to propagate the Christian faith. He 
became the head of a Wendish kingdom, and secured 
from Bremen the services of many clergy whom he 
encouraged to act as teachers and missionaries. 
Gottschalk himself frequently addressed the congrega- 
tions that gathered in church and translated for them 
into their own tongue the forms of the Latin liturgy 
which the missionaries used.^ New churches or monas- 
teries were built at Lubeck, Oldenburg, Ratzebiu-g, 
Lentzen and Mecklenburg (near Wismar). In the 
prosecution of his missionary activities he received 
constant encouragement from Adalbert (Albrecht), 
archbishop of Bremen, who sent out as missionaries Mission- 
many of those who had been trained under him at^yAda?-^ 

1 '*ea quae mystice ab episcopis et Adam Bremensis, cap. 138; and bert. 
presbyteris dicebantur, Sclavonicis Helmold, Chronica Slavorumy i. 1, 
verbis cupiens reddere planiora." c. 20. 


Bremen, or who had gathered round him, having been 
trained elsewhere. 

Despite the success which attended the efforts of 
Gottschalk,^ the heathen portion of the population, 
who had become incensed against him, partly on the 
ground that he had become a Christian, and partly on 
account of his alliances with Germany, rose in rebellion 
and attempted to stamp out once again the Christian 
Murder of faith. Gottschalk himself was murdered at Lentzen 
schitk. on June 9, 1066 ; the priest Ebbo (or Eppo) was sacri- 
ficed on the altar at Lentzen, and many of the mission- 
aries and their converts suffered cruel tortures. A 
monk named Ansverus with several others was stoned 
to death near Ratzeburg. Before he was put to death 
he begged his murderers to stone his companions first, 
as he was feaxful lest without his encouragement they 
might deny their faith. When they had died as 
martyrs he fell joyfully on his knees and met his 
John, Bp. Amongst those who suffered in this rebellion was 
fenWg." an Irishman, John, bishop of Mecklenburg, a devoted 
missionary whose labours had been attended with 
great success. The aged bishop was cruelly beaten 
and carried, exposed to the gaze of the populace, through 
the chief towns, and finally at Rethre, after he had 
refused to deny his faith in order to save his life, his 
hands and feet were cut off and he was beheaded. His 
body was then flung into the street and his head was 
fixed on a pole and carried in triumph to the temple 
of the god Radigost, where it was offered as an atone- 
ment for the contempt which had been shown to the 

1 Adam Bremensis refers to him as "noster Macchabseus. " Gesta, cap. 166, 


god.^ On the death of Gottschalk a general revolt 
against the Germans took place and nearly all traces 
of Christianity were again obliterated. Cruko, thecruko. 
chief who succeeded Gottschalk, was a fanatical pagan 
and for forty years Christian missionary efforts were 
practically suspended. 

Adam of Bremen, referring to the difficulties which 
the avarice of their Saxon rulers placed in the way 
of the conversion of the Slavs in Saxony, quotes a 
remark which he had heard made by the king of 
Denmark : 

" The Slav peoples might undoubtedly have been 
converted to Christianity had not the avarice of the 
Saxons stood in the way. Their thoughts were more 
directed towards the question of the payment of taxes 
than the conversion of the heathen. Nor do they, un- 
happy people, wait to consider how much danger they 
run by their cupidity ,2 who have first disturbed cupidity 
Christianity in Slavonia by their avarice, then by their slxons. 
cruelty have forced a subject race to rebel, and now 
show contempt for the salvation of those who might 
wish to believe, by doing nothing but exact money 
from them." ^ 

In 1105 Henry, a son of Gottschalk who had taken 
refuge in Denmark, with the help of some Christian 
princes defeated the pagan Wends and became the 
ruler of the country. He endeavoured to reintroduce 
the Christian faith, but the disputes between his sons 
that occurred on his death in 1126 interfered with the 
work of the Christian missionaries. 

^ See Oeata Adami Bremensis, suae cupiditatis luant periculum." 
cap. 167. Migne, P. i^. cxlvi. col. 696. ^ Adam Bremensis, Gesta, 141. 

^ "nee attendunt miseri quantum 


Viceiin, In 1125 a missionary named Vicelin, who had been 
aryto^he educated at Paderborn and afterwards for three years 
Wends. -^^ France at the university of Paris, was ordained 
^ priest and, at his own request, was sent by the arch- 
bishop of Bremen to work amongst the Wends. He 
was joined by Rudolph a priest from Hildesheim and 
by Ludolf from Verden, and was welcomed by Henry, 
who assigned him a church at Lubeck. Before however 
any effective missionary work could be accomplished 
Henry died (1127) and Vicelin returned to the arch- 
bishop at Bremen. In the following year the inhabitants 
of the border town of Faldera (Neuminster) applied to 
the Archbishop to send them a priest and Vicelin took 
advantage of the opportunity of establishing a mission- 
ary centre from which he might hope to evangelize 
the districts to the north of the Elbe. The inhabitants 
of the district, who had in many cases previously been 
nominal Christians, had relapsed into idolatry and their 
temples and sacred groves had been re-established. 
His preaching here met with a considerable amount 
of success, and, as he travelled from place to place, he 
strove not only to win the people to a nominal profession 
of the Christian faith, but to lead them to repentance 
and to the practice of Christian virtues. 
Amis- Moved by his example and influence a number of 

fraternity, laymen and clergy formed themselves into a fraternity, 
vowing to devote their lives to prayer and good works 
and to labour for the conversion of the Wends. In 
1134 the Emperor Lothaire II, who was visiting the 
province of Holstein, was much impressed with the 
results of their labours and encouraged them to per- 
severe. By the advice of Vicelin the Emperor built 


a fortress at Sigeberg in order to protect the country 
against risings of the Slavonians, and the new church 
which it included was committed to the charge of 
ViceUn, but on the death of Lothaire in 1147 the Wends RebeiUon 
rose in rebeUion and again expelled the missionaries wends, 
and destroyed all Christian buildings, whereupon ^^^^' 
ViceUn withdrew for a time to Faldera. Count Adolph 
of Holstein eventually succeeded in estabUshing his 
authority over the Wends and ViceUn's church 
at Sigeberg was restored to him. Soon afterwards he 
removed his monastery, which was practically a mis- 
sionary college, to the neighbouring town of Hogelsdorf , 
and his liberaUty to the people in that district during 
a severe famine did much to conciliate their goodwill. 
The rebellion having been finally suppressed, Vicelin 
was made bishop of Oldenburg in 1148 and laboured 
earnestly, despite many discouragements and dis- 
appointments, till his death on December 13, 1154. Death of 
During the last two and a half years of his life he suffered n54.^^' 
greatly from paralytic strokes and could only influence 
his people by the example of the Christian patience 
with which his sufferings were endured. 

In 1157 Albert the Bear, the Margrave of Branden- Massacre 
burg, who had twice before waged war with the Wends, wends, 
organized a third expedition against them which ended ^^^^• 
in their almost complete extinction. The depopulated 
country he repeopled with agricultural colonists whom 
he brought from the Rhine and from Holland. With 
the influx of these Christian colonists missionary work 
in the country of the Wends ceased. 

At the beginning of the twelfth century the Slavonic 
population had practically ceased to exist and the 


country was united ecclesiastically and politically to 


introduc- Pomerauia was in early times inhabited by Celts, 
Christi- and later on by Teutons, but from the beginning of the 
anity. sixth ccutury these last had to a large extent been dis- 
placed by Slavs. The existence of Christianity in 
Pomerania dates from the conquest of the country to 
the east of the Oder by the Polish Duke Boleslav, at 
which time the conquered people were forced to receive 
Bp. Rein- the representatives of the Christian faith. Reinbern, 
who was appointed bishop of Colberg in 1000 a.d., 
was of German nationality, and being greatly disliked 
by the pagan inhabitants was able to do little towards 
their conversion. In 1015 he was murdered as he was 
on his way to Russia. 

For more than a century the inhabitants of Eastern 
Pomerania were in a state of constant warfare with 
their Polish neighbours, and though each successive 
invasion of their country was followed by the com- 
pulsory baptism of a section of the people, Christianity 
continued to be regarded as the religion of their con- 
querors and made little real progress amongst them. 
In 1121 the country to the west of the Oder was con- 
Forcibie qucrcd by the Polish Duke Boleslav III, who resolved 
sionir either to drive its inhabitants at the point of the sword 
^^^^- to adopt the Christian religion, or as an alternative, 
to destroy them. He ravaged the whole country 
with fire and sword, and murdered so many of the 
people that three years afterwards the survivors could 
point to the heaps of bones which had remained 


unburied. Stettin, the capital, was taken, and eighteen 
thousand Pomeranian soldiers were put to death, whilst 
eight thousand of the people, together with their wives 
and children, were carried away to Poland, having first 
been compelled to renounce idolatry and to receive 

The political conquest of the country having thus 
been accomplished, Boleslav endeavoured to find 
Christian missionaries to evangeKze what was left of 
the population after the massacre or transportation of 
the rest. With this object he appealed to the Polish 
bishops, all of whom, however, declined to attempt 
so forlorn a hope. In 1122 a Spanish priest named The 
Bernard, who had been consecrated as a bishop in Rome, nSsSon- 
came to Boleslav and asked to be allowed to go as ^^J^'^^^^' 
missionary to the Pomeranians.^ He knew nothing of 
the language or of the customs or manners of the people 
whom he hoped to evangelize ; nevertheless Boleslav, 
after warning him of the difficulties involved in the 
proposed undertaking, gave his consent. Accompanied 
by a chaplain and an interpreter, whom Boleslav 
supplied, Bernard approached the town of JuHn in 
the island of WoUin, barefooted and dressed as a hermit. 
The inhabitants of Julin, accustomed to the rich dresses 
of their pagan priests, regarded him with unconcealed 
contempt, and, in reply to his assertion that he had 
come as the messenger of God, they asked how it was 
possible to believe that the Ruler of the whole earth 
would send as His messenger a poor man who had not 
even shoes for his feet. They told him further that, 

^ The story of Bernard is not given by Andreas, an abbot of Bamberg, 
by the contemporary and anonymous 1483-1502. 
writer of the Life of Otto, but is told 


if he desired to secure his safety, he should return at 

once to the place from which he came, and not discredit 

his God by pretending to be His messenger. Bernard, 

in reply, asked that a house should be set on fire and 

that he should be flung into the flames. " If," said he, 

" I come forth uninjured while the house is consumed, 

then believe that I am sent unto you by Him whom 

the fire and every other created thing obeys." ^ Soon 

afterwards, Bernard having destroyed a sacred image 

He is in Julin, the people forced him to go on board a vessel 

fnTm ^ and to leave them. " As you have so great a desire 

'^"^'^- to preach," they said, " preach to the fishes of the sea 

and the birds of the air." 
Mission of Bernard eventually retired to Bamberg, the bishop 
1124! of which was Otto^ (Otho), a Suabian of noble family, 
and famous for his austere life and for his successful 
efforts to raise the standard of Christian life amongst 
the clergy and laity of his diocese. He related to the 
bishop his experiences, and besought him to make a 
further attempt to preach the Gospel in Pomerania. 
At the same time he urged him to avoid the mistake 
which he conceived himself to have made, and to go 
with a large retinue of assistants and servants, dressed 
in costly garments and with an abundant supply of 
food, in the hope that those " who had scorned to 
accept the yoke of humihty might be awed by the 

1 Ebbo, Vita Ottonis, ii. 1. most trustworthy life which exists ; 

2 The authorities for the Life of (2) Dialogus de vita Ottonis, by 
Otto are (1) an anonymous monk who Herbordus, who was a student at 
was a contemporary of Otto. This Bamberg. 1158-9; (3) Vita Ottonis, 
Hfe was supposed at one time to have by Ebbo, a monk at Bamberg. The 
been compiled by Andreas, abbot of writers of (2) and (3) apparently 
Bamberg, 1483-1502, but is now copied largely from ( 1 ). See also the 
generally regarded as the oldest and Acta Sanctorum for July 2. 


glory of riches and submit themselves." ^ The Duke 
Boleslav supported the appeal of Bernard and offered 
to pay all expenses and to provide an escort and in- 
terpreters. After obtaining from the Pope Calixtus II 
the appointment of Papal Legate, Otto collected a 
body of missionaries to accompany him, and set out 
on his missionary campaign on April 25, 1124. 

It is interesting to note that although he adopted the His 
method, which Xavier afterwards imitated, of appeahng ^p^^i. ^ 
to those whom he desired to influence in favour of 
Christianity by a display of wealth and luxury, his 
own habits were ascetic, and his life was a model of 
self-denial. Several stories are told of his life at Bam- 
berg which illustrate the statement. Thus, when on 
one occasion he received a valuable dress wrought 
with gold and silk from one who desired that he would 
wear it in remembrance of him, he replied, " I will 
preserve the precious gift so carefully that neither moth 
shall corrupt nor thieves steal it," and having said this, 
he called the man who superintended his wardrobe 
and said : " Take this beautiful covering which is dear 
to me and place it on that paralytic," pointing to a 
man who had long been ill, the odour arising from 
whose ulcers was a distress to all the neighbourhood." ^ 
The luxurious pomp which characterized his missionary 
activities in Pomerania was adopted by him for a definite 
purpose, and did not in any way represent the natural 
bent of his disposition. 

After visiting Duke Boleslav in Poland, Otto and Reception 
his companions crossed the great forest which divided g/on^at^^^ 
Poland from Pomerania, and after six days reached Py"*=^- 

^ ViUi Ottonis, ii. 2. ^ Canisii Lectiones Antiqum, vol. iii. lib. 3. p. 90. 

2 c 


the River Netze, where the Pomeranian Duke Wratislav 
met them at the head of 500 soldiers. After conferring 
with Wratislav and obtaining his approval, they pro- 
ceeded next day to the town of Pyritz (Pyrissa), passing 
through a district which had been depopulated by 
war. The thirty inhabitants who appeared to be the 
sole survivors in this district were asked if they were 
willing to be baptized, and as they gave their consent, 
the rite was administered to them forthwith. Reaching 
the outskirts of Pyritz a little before midnight they 
found that a pagan festival, accompanied by revelry 
and drunkenness, was in progress, and they accordingly 
waited for dayhght before announcing their errand. 
When the morning came the envoys of the dukes of 
Poland and Pomerania entered the town and explained 
to the inhabitants that the bishop was waiting outside 
and was ready to receive their adhesion to the Christian 
faith. Their consent having been obtained, the mis- 
sionary party, with their waggons and numerous train, 
entered the town, whereupon Otto addressed the people 
thus : " The blessing of the Lord be upon you. Blessed 
be ye of the Lord. We bless and thank you in the 
name of the Lord, because ye have refreshed our hearts 
by your grateful, kind, and loving reception. Doubtless 
ye have already heard what is the object of our coming, 
but it is becoming that ye should Usten again and 
attend. For the sake of your salvation, your happi- 
ness, and your joy, we have come a long way. For 
ye will be safe and happy for evermore if ye be wiUing 
to acknowledge your Creator, and to serve Him." ^ 
Seven days were occupied by the missionaries in giving 

1 Canisii Leciiones Antiquce, ii. c. 7. 


further instruction, and a fast was appointed for the Baptisms 
three following days, during which the people were ** ^^^^*^* 
urged to prepare themselves by frequent washing for 
the reception of baptism. Otto ordered that large 
vessels should be sunk in the ground so as to render 
possible baptism by immersion, the vessels being 
sm-rounded with curtains, and the water, when the 
weather was cold, being warmed. Those about to be 
baptized were first anointed with oil and were then 
led forward for baptism. Otto himself baptized the 
boys, whilst the other missionaries baptized the men and 
the women at separate baptisteries. For another ten 
days the missionaries remained at Pyritz engaged in in- 
structing the newly made Christians in their duties and 
in the doctrines of the faith, the total number baptized 
during the twenty days being 7000. Before leaving 
them, Otto addressed them all through an interpreter, Address 
standing in an elevated place. His address, which is ^^ ^**''' 
given at length by his biographer, affords an instructive 
example of the teaching given by a mediaeval missionary 
to his converts. In the course of it he said : ^ 

" All ye my brethren have been baptized and have 
all put on Christ : ye have received from Him the 
forgiveness of all your sins original and actual : ye are 
clean and holy, having been cleansed and sanctified, 
not through any deed of ours, but by Him, for He 
has washed away the sins of the world in His blood. 
Beware then of all contamination by the worship of 
idols. . . . Put your trust in God who is the only 
Creator, and offer divine honour to no created thing, 

^ The address is given in Migne, P. L. vol. clxxiii., coL 1,365 ; also by 
Canisius, ii. c. 8. 


. . . but rather seek to advance in faith, hope, and 

charity, that His blessing may come upon you and 

upon your children, and that, beheving in Him and 

adorning your faith by your works, ye may have life 

in His name who has called you out of darkness into 

His marvellous light. For ye ought to be well assured 

and nowise doubt that if, by His help, ye endeavour 

to preserve to the end of your life the innocence and 

hohness in which ye have been placed to-day, ye will 

not only escape eternal death, but will possess for ever 

His the joy of the celestial kingdom." In view of the 

towards problems raised by the practice of polygamy in many 

P^^y- places in which missionaries are at work to-day it 

gamy. ^ .i • • • iT_ 

is interesting to note that, whilst msistmg upon the 
practice of monogamy, he apparently did not make 
this a condition of baptism, and that in cases where a 
polygamist was wiUing to become a monogamist, he 
allowed him to decide which of his wives he would 

" If there is any of you," said Otto, " who before 
baptism had more than one wife, let him now select 
the wife he loves best, and, having dismissed the others, 
let him have her only, as becometh a christened man." 

He then denounced the custom of infanticide, and 
ended by exhorting the people to respect the clergy 
whom he would leave with them. 

From Pyritz the missionaries proceeded to Cammin, 

the residence of the legitimate wife of the Duke 

Wratislav, who was herself well disposed to the Christian 

Baptisms faith. In consequence of her influence Otto found 

^iJ^^"^' many of the inhabitants willing to accept baptism, 

and during the ''nearly fifty days" which he spent 


here the missionaries were busily engaged in teaching 
and baptizing. Although Otto himself only baptized 
boys/ leaving the baptism of men and of females to 
his associates, so great was the number of applicants 
that the bishop's garments became soaked in his sweat. 
Duke Wratislav, who arrived while Otto was at Cammin, 
swore upon the sacred relics, in the presence of the 
bishop and of the assembled people, that he would put 
away his twenty-four concubines and cleave to one 
wife. His example had a great influence upon his 
subjects, and many of his soldiers were also baptized 
and subsequently confirmed. A Christian church was 
then built, and one of the missionaries remained behind 
to serve it and to give further instruction to the con- 
verts. At Cammin the missionaries transferred their 
luggage to boats, and after navigating the inland rivers 
and lakes, arrived at JuUn in the island of Wollin. 
Fearing the fury of the pagan population, his guides Hostile re. 
advised Otto to remain for a while concealed on theju^°^** 
banks of the river, and when darkness came to slip 
into the town unperceived and take refuge in an en- 
closiu'e which was recognized as a place of refuge, the 
inviolability of which would be respected by the in- 
habitants. In the morning, however, when their 
presence was discovered, the people surrounded the 
enclosure and threatened the missionaries with death 
if they did not immediately depart. Otto, who " hoped 
that he had been called to the crown of martyrdom," 
advanced with cheerful countenance, and endeavoured 
to speak to them, but he was knocked down and injured, 
and his life was only saved by the courage and strength 

^ "licet solos mares pueros tingeret." Fito, lib. ii. c. 10. 


of Paulitzky, who interposed his body between the 
bishop and his enemies. Beating a hasty retreat, and 
breaking down a bridge behind them, they reached their 
boats in safety. On reaching them Otto said to his 
companions, " Alas ! we have been deprived of our 
expectation. The crown (of martyrdom) was in our 
hands, ye have snatched it away from us. May God 
forgive you, my sons and brothers." After they had 
waited for five days, some of the people of JuUn, several 
of whom were secretly Christians, visited Otto and 
apologized for the violence of their fellow-countrymen, 
whereupon Otto expounded to them the Christian faith, 
and at the same time threatened them with the anger 
of the Pohsh duke under whose auspices he had come, 
and urged them to avoid this by becoming Christians. 
An assembly was accordingly summoned, and, after 
a long discussion, it was decided that the populace 
would wait to see whether the inhabitants of Stettin, 
the oldest and noblest city in their country, would 
accept Christianity, and that they would then follow 
Visit to* their example. The missionaries accordingly proceeded 
to Stettin, and as at Julin, they availed themselves of 
the enclosure which was regarded as a place of refuge 
and protection. In the morning they explained why 
they had come, and attempted alternately to persuade 
and to frighten the people to accept the new religion. 
The people replied : " What have we to do with you ? 
. . . Amongst the Christians are thieves and robbers 
who (for their misdeeds) are deprived of feet and eyes, 
and there are all kinds of crimes and punishments. 
One Christian execrates another Christian. Let such 
a religion be far from us." With these and other similar 



excuses they refused to listen to the missionaries, and 
for the space of two months these made no way. It Appeal to 
was then decided to send messengers to the duke of of ^Poland. 
Poland to ask whether they should leave Stettin and 
return to him, and what was his will in regard to the 
people of Stettin who had refused to accept the Christian 
faith. When the inhabitants of Stettin heard of the 
sending of this embassy they feared its possible out- 
come, and sent a message themselves to the duke 
stating their willingness to accept Christianity provided 
that he would diminish their tribute and grant them a 
permanent peace. Whilst waiting for the return of 
his messengers. Otto strove by peaceful means to 
win over the inhabitants of Stettin to the Christian 
faith. On the market days, which occurred twice a 
week, when many of the country people from outside 
visited the town, Otto appeared, dressed in priestly 
robes and with a cross borne in front of him, and strove 
to explain to the crowds who gathered round him the 
doctrines of Christianity. By doing so he risked his 
life, but " God protected him," and neither he nor 
his companions suffered any narm. ^ 

The baptism of the two sons of one of the most Baptism 
influential residents in Stettin did much to increase the youths at 
bishop's influence. They came to him again and again s*^^*^^- 
asking to be instructed concerning the faith : the bishop 
spoke to them of the purity of Christianity, of the 
immortahty of the soul, the resurrection of the body, 
and of the hope and glory of eternal life, and ere long 
they expressed a desire to receive baptism. After they 

^ "Jugulum neci quodammodo cottidie aptaverunt, sed Deo protegente 
laesi non sunt." 


had received further instruction they were washed and 
baptized and arrayed in white robes, and for eight days 
they stayed with the bishop without returning to their 
home, their father being away from home at the time. 
On receipt of a message from their mother that she was 
coming to see him and her sons, the bishop took his 
seat on a bank in the open air surrounded by the other 
missionaries, and with the two youths arrayed in white 
garments below him. On the approach of their mother 
her sons rose to meet her, whereupon she fell fainting 
to the ground, overcome, as the spectators imagined, 
with grief that her sons had become Christians. When, 
however, the bishop and his companions raised her 
up she exclaimed to the amazed spectators : "I thank 
Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, Thou source of all hope 
and of all consolation, that I behold my sons initiated 
into Thy sacraments, and enlightened by the faith in 
Thy truth, for Thou knowest, Lord Jesus Christ, that 
for many years I have not ceased in the secret recesses 
of my heart to recommend these youths to Thy com- 
passion, beseeching Thee to do in them that which 
Thou now hast done." Then turning to the bishop, 
she said : " Blessed be (the day of) thy coming to this 
city, most reverend father, for if thou wilt but persevere, 
much people shall here be gained for the Lord, let not 
delay cause thee to become weary : behold I myself, 
who stand here before you, do by the aid of Almighty 
God, encouraged by your presence, reverend father, 
but throwing myself on the help of these my children 
(pignorum)^ confess that I am a Christian, a truth 
which till now I dared not openly acknowledge." 
She then related how as a girl she had been carried 


away from a Christian land and had been given as a 
wife to a rich and noble man by whom vshe had had these 
two sons. Her confession was soon afterwards followed Further 
by the baptism of the members of her household and ^^p^^'^^* 
of many of her neighbours. 

The two youths were filled with missionary enthusi- 
asm, and pleaded with their fellow-countrymen that a 
religion which resulted in the emancipation of slaves 
and in the other beneficent deeds which distinguished 
the conduct of the missionaries, must be true and 
deserving of acceptance. Their father, on his return 
home, was sorely grieved ^ at the conversion of his 
wife and household to the Christian faith, but ere long, 
influenced by the prayers and example of his wife, he 
too became a Christian. 

Soon afterwards a letter was received from the duke Letter 
of Poland in reply to^the embassage which had been^Xo^^ 
sent to him. In his letter, in which he described him- P<^^n<i- 
self as " the enemy of all pagans," he said that if the 
inhabitants embraced Christianity they might look for 
peace and a decrease of tribute, but that otherwise 
their land would be laid waste with fire and sword, 
and his relation to them would become one of " eternal 
enmity." On receipt of the letter Otto proposed to 
the assembled people that, inasmuch as the worship of 
the true God could not be combined with that of idols, 
they should proceed to destroy the temples of the false 
gods. When they hung back, moved by superstitious Destruc- 
fears, Otto and his assistants armed with hatchets tempos at 
and pickaxes, and having obtained their reluctant ^*®**^^ 
consent, proceeded to carry out the work of destruction. 

^ '*Mori voluit prse dolore." 


The first temple to be attacked was that of the Slavic 
god Triglav, or Triglaus, i.e. the three-headed, which 
contained an image of the god and was decorated with 
sculptures and paintings. As it had been the custom 
to dedicate to this god a tenth part of all the spoils 
taken in war, its temple contained much treasure. 
The bishop having sprinkled the spoils with holy water 
and having made the sign of the Cross, distributed them 
Trigiav. amongst the people. The heads of Triglav he after- 
wards sent to Rome. A sacred oak/ which was valued 
for its shade, the bishop allowed to remain, but he in- 
sisted that a horse which was used for purposes of 
divination should be sent out of the country and sold. 
After the destruction of all heathen emblems a large 
Changes uumbcr of the people were baptized. Otto's biographer 
baptism/ refers to the change in the countenances of those who 
had been baptized, which soon made it easy even for 
the heathen to distinguish the Christians from those 
who had not been converted : a change similar to 
that which has often been noted by missionaries in the 
Christian villages of South India and elsewhere. He 
writes : "On the faces of all who had been baptized 
there shone happiness and the brightness of spiritual 
grace, so that those who had been baptized could be 
distinguished from those who had not been baptized, 
even as light from darkness." ^ 

After a stay of five months and the erection of a 
Christian church in the middle of the market-place, 

^ The oak was regarded as specially baptizatorum quendam jucundum et 

sacred to Perun, the god of thunder. spiritualis gratise rutilare fulgorem. 

See La Mythologie Slave, par M. L. ita ut baptizati a non baptizatis, velut 

Leger, p. 74. lux a tenebris, facile discerni possent. " 

2 " In vultibus scilicet omnium Vita, ii. 24. 


the bishop left Stettin and, descending the River Oder, 
crossed the sea to Juhn, in the island of WoUin. Its 
inhabitants, who had previously opposed the bishop's 
mission, had become friendly and were eager to welcome 
him, as a result of the news which had reached tJiem 
from Stettin. During the two months that the bishop 
and bis companions spent in Julin they were busily 
occupied in teaching and baptizing the large number 
of the inhabitants who desired to become Christians.^ 

He next went to a place called Clonoda (or Clodona), visit to 
the neighbourhood of which had recently been devas- 
tated by the duke of Poland, and then visited Colberg 
(Colbrega), many of the inhabitants of which were at 
the time absent on voyages. He baptized many both 
here and at Bielgrad, which was distant one day's 
journey from Colberg, and then turned back in the hope 
of reaching his own city of Bamberg before Easter.^ 

Before leaving Pomerania to return home, he re- otto ad- 
visited the churches that he had helped to found, in^^nfirma- 
order to administer confirmation to those who had*^^^' 
been baptized, and to baptize those who had been away 
from their homes on the occasion of his previous visits. 
He was also able to consecrate several Christian 
churches, the building of which had been completed.^ 
The Christians throughout Pomerania entreated Otto 
to remain with them and be their bishop, and his 
biographer states that had it not been for the dissuasion 

^ " Tota ci vitas et provincia cum ^ " Redire ad suam sedem conse- 

populo suo apposita est ad Deum, craturus crisma." Vita, ii. 27. 

tantaque fuit multitudo virorum et ^ The number of baptized Christians 

muHerumetutriusquesexuspuerorum in Pomerania at this time was about 

ut in spatio duorum mensium quamvis 22,000, and the number of churches 

sine cessatione ageretur opus, vix eleven. See Hauck's Kirchenge- 

omnes tingi potuissent." VitUf ii. 25. schichte DeutscMands, iv. 600 n. 


of the clergy, his companions, he would have yielded 
to his own inclination and would have complied with 
His re- their request. On his journey home he passed through 
Bamberg. Poland and arranged with the Duke Boleslav for the 
consecration of Adalbert, one of the missionaries who 
had accompanied him on his tour, to be the first bishop 
Slow pro- of Julin. The missionaries whom Otto left behind 
mfsslon- him in Pomerania were few in number and were, more- 
arywork. Qy^j.^ ^^^ deficient in wisdom and zeal to consolidate 
the work that had been begun, and during the next 
three years that be spent in Bamberg very little progress 
was achieved. When he left to return home Christianity 
had been introduced into one half of Pomerania, whilst 
the other half remained heathen, and as those who had 
become Christians from political rather than from 
religious motives came into contact with their heathen 
neighbours, the few missionaries who had been left in 
their country found it hard to prevent the spread of a 
reaction in favour of their ancestral customs, 
otto In the spring of 1127 Otto set out to revisit 

Pomer- Pomcrauia. Passing through Saxony he descended 
ama,ii27. ^j^^ River Elbe for some distance and travelled over- 
land as far as Demmin (Timina), a town which was 
still heathen. 

On this second expedition he defrayed all his personal 
expenses and those of his companions, and with this 
object in view he purchased a quantity of grain and 
other merchandise at Halle, which was conveyed 
by boat down the Elbe and afterwards transferred 
to fifty waggons to be carried overland to Demmin. 
Here he met Duke Wratislav (Frocislaus), who was 
returning from a campaign against the Leuticians, 


and was accompanied by a large number of captives Liberation 
whom he had reduced to a condition of slavery. The° ^ ^^' 
bishop entreated the duke to exercise Christian com- 
passion and not to separate wives from their husbands 
or young children from their parents. He himself 
bought some of those who were pagans, and, having 
instructed them in the Christian faith, sent them back 
to their homes. 

From Demmin Otto proceeded to Usedom (Unz- Diet at 
noimia), a three days' march, where he met Duke^^®^°^' 
Wratislav, who, at his suggestion, agreed that at the 
approaching Whitsuntide a diet or assembly should 
be held at Usedom in order to induce the various 
States in Pomerania to establish the Christian Church 
throughout the whole country. 

When the assembly met, Wratislav himself spoke 
and m-ged those present to abandon idolatry and to 
be baptized as Christians. Presenting Otto to them, 
he drew their attention to the fact that although he 
was of noble birth and a rich man, and possessed of 
gold, silver, and lands, and " all that the world calls 
precious," he had left his life of ease and honour in 
order to benefit the peoples of Pomerania. He urged, wratisiav 
too, that as his motives could not be impugned, he was adop^ti^n 
deserving of an attentive hearing and of credit : they ^^ .^iiristi- 
had refused to hsten to the missionaries who had come 
to them before on the ground that they were poor : 
let them Hsten then to those who were rich.^ The 
bishop in the course of his address spoke of the divine 
mercy, of the forgiveness of sins, and of the gift of the 
Holy Spirit. His words were productive of immediate 

^ " Noluistis audire jnendicos evangelistas, audite opulentos." 


Many results, and some who had abandoned their profession 
ap isms, ^j Christianity professed repentance, and many others, 
together with all the chiefs and their attendants, were 
baptized. Otto stayed altogether a week in Usedom, 
and when he left to prosecute his missionary labours 
elsewhere, he adopted the plan of sending his clergy 
two by two into the towns and villages which he pro- 
uiric and poscd himsclf to visit. Two missionaries, named Ulric 
Woigast. and Albin, were accordingly sent to the town of Wolgast 
(Hologosta), where they were welcomed by the wife 
of the burgomaster. When, however, they told her 
the object of their visit she explained to them the 
danger which threatened them owing to the fanaticism 
of the people. After concealing them in the top of 
her house and sending their baggage away, she en- 
deavoured to divert the suspicion which their appear- 
ance in the city had already excited, sending mean- 
while to acquaint Otto with the peril which they had 
incurred. The hostility of the people of Wolgast on 
A heathen this occasiou was largely due to a stratagem which 
gem*^" one of the heathen priests had played in order to 
prevent missionary work being started in his city. 
Dressing himself in white robes he hid in the forest 
near by and showed himself in the early dawn to a 
passing peasant, to whom he declared that he was the 
chief of their national gods. " I am thy god," he said, 
" I am he that clothes the fields with grass and the woods 
with leaves ; without me the fruit tree cannot yield its 
fruit, nor the field its corn, nor the cattle their increase : 
these blessings I bestow on my worshippers, and from 
those that despise me I take them away. Tell the 
people of Wolgast, therefore, that they accept not any 


other god who cannot profit them, and warn them that 
they suffer not to Uve the representatives of another 
religion, who, as I predict, will come to their town." ^ 
The priest then vanished in the darkness of the forest, 
but soon afterwards appeared in Wolgast, where the 
peasant had already begun to tell his tale. By pre- 
tending at first to disbelieve him and by skilful question- 
ing, he caused the peasant to tell the story over and 
over again to fresh groups of hearers, who spread it 
far and wide and helped to raise a flame of fanaticism 
against the new religion and any who might attempt 
to introduce it. Turning to the people the priest said : 
" This is what I have been telling you for a whole year. 
What have we to do with a strange god ? What have 
we to do with the rehgion of the Christians ? Our god 
is justly angry, inasmuch as after all his benefits 
bestowed upon us we turn ungratefully to another." 

On hearing of the dangers which threatened his two 
missionaries. Otto, accompanied by the duke and 
several chiefs and an escort of soldiers, hastened to 
their rescue, and soon ensured their safety. Fear now 
gave place to an undue feeling of security, and one 
of the clergy, named Encodric, who had tried to enter Encodric. 
one of the idol temples, hardly escaped with his life. 
He had already placed his hand on the door of the 
temple when the pagans rushed upon him, whereupon, 
terrified, and seeing no means of escape, he rushed into 
the innermost recess of the temple and took up a large 
shield that was embossed with gold, and was dedicated 
to Gerovit (Gerovitus), the god of war. The shield was 
regarded as sacred, and was supposed to render the 

^ Vitaf iii. 4. 


person of anyone who carried it inviolable ; when, 
therefore, the crowd who were preparing to murder 
him, discerned what he was carrying, they were aghast 
at his daring, and some fell to the ground as though 
dead, whilst others took refuge in flight, Encodric 
meanwhile being enabled to rejoin his companions in 
safety. Otto remained at Wolgast till all the heathen 
temples had been destroyed, and a chiu'ch had begun 
to be built, to preside over which he ordained as priest 
Destruc- a man named John. The next place visited by him 
temp^ieat was Gutzkow (Gozgaugia), the magnificent temple in 
Gutzkow. ^i^ich the pagans besought him to spare and, if he 
wished, to convert it into a Christian church. Otto, 
however, feared that if this were done a reaction in 
favour of paganism might occur after his departure, 
and he accordingly insisted on its destruction. " Would 
you think," he said, " of sowing your grain among 
thorns and thistles ? No, you would first pluck up 
the weeds, that when the good seed is sown in your 
fields you may be able to obtain the crops which ye 
desire. So T must first utterly destroy from the midst 
of you this seed of idolatry and this thorn to my preach- 
ing, in order that the good seed of the Gospel may 
bring forth fruit in your hearts to eternal life." ^ The 
objections of the people were at length overcome, and 
with their own hands they destroyed the temple and 
its idols. In its place he designed a Christian church, 
which by its splendour and magnificence might out- 
Consecra- shiuc the temple that had been destroyed. When part 
church.^ of it had been completed he endeavoured to make the 
festival of its consecration one which should eclipse 

1 Vita, iii. 7. 


in the popular imagination any of their pagan festivals, 
and to the chiefs and their followers who had assembled 
for this purpose he endeavoured to explain the sym- 
bolism of the service, at the same time warning 
them that Christianity meant more than mere outward 
forms. He lu-ged upon them, moreover, that the true 
meaning of the consecration of a church had reference 
to the consecration of God's temple in the soul of every 
believer, since Christ dwells by faith in the heart of the 
believer. Then turning to Mitzlav, the Governor of 
the district, he said, " Thou art the true house of God, 
my beloved son. Thou art this day to be consecrated 
and dedicated, consecrated to God thy almighty Creator, 
so that, separated from every foreign master, thou 
mayest become exclusively His dwelling-place and His 
possession : therefore my beloved son do not hinder 
thy consecration, for it is of little avail that the house 
thou seest before thee should be outwardly consecrated, 
should a like consecration not be made in thy own soul ^ 
also." The bishop went on to urge upon Mitzlav that 
he should abandon all deeds of violence and fraud, and 
ended by demanding of him that he should forthwith set 
free all persons whom he had confined in prison in order 
to extract from them the payment of debts. After 
some demur Mitzlav, '' sighing deeply," exclaimed : " I Mitzlav 
do here in the name of the Lord Jesus give them allhlfpris- 
their liberty, that so according to your words my sins ^^^^^' 
may be forgiven and the consecration of which you 
spoke may be completed in me this day." It eventually 
transpired that Mitzlav had excepted from the number 
of those set at liberty the son of a Dacian nobleman 

^ Vita, iii. 9 *' In me " should apparently be '* in te." 
2 D 


who owed him five hundred pounds of gold, but he too 
was eventually set at hbe/ty, and, laden with fetters 
as he was, he was brought forth from his cell, and in 
the presence of a large congregation, which was bathed 
in tears, was led to the altar of the newly erected church, 
where his freedom was formally granted to him by 
Mitzlav. The duke's example was productive of much 
result, and many deeds of self-denial were performed 
by the newly made Christians, 
otto in- Soon after this Otto increased his influence with the 
w[th the people by his successful efforts to ward off an invasion 
Poknd. that the duke of Poland was preparing to make at the 
head of a large army. Otto and his clergy met the 
duke, who was advancing with his troops, and, by 
assuring him of the fidelity of Wratislav and the 
loyalty of his subjects, appeased his anger and induced 
him to desist from the threatened invasion. His 
biographer writes of him that whereas his popularity 
tended ever to increase, " he himself attributed nothing 
to his own merits, but showed himself the more humble 
before God and men, as he knew that without His 
aid he could do nothing."^ 
Island of About this time Otto determined to attempt the 
conversion of the inhabitants of Rugen (Verania), a 
large island, distant about a day's journey from Use- 
dom, which was a stronghold of paganism and had never 
admitted a Christian missionary. As any attempt to 
land on the island seemed likely to involve instant death, 
the duke and Otto's companions besought him to 
abandon his intention, and this, despite the fact 
that he had " hoped to obtain there the crown 

1 Vita, iii. 9. 


of martyrdom," he was reluctantly constrained to 

In order to extend the sphere of his missionary 
labours Otto desired to send the clergy who had accom- 
panied him to different parts of Pomerania, but they 
lacked the courage and enthusiasm of their leader 
and were afraid to expose themselves to the hostiUty 
of the pagans when unaccompanied by him. When 
he himself announced his purpose of revisiting Stettin, stettin 
where a heathen reaction had taken place, they refused ^®^*^^^®^- 
to accompany him. Otto accordingly, after spending 
a day in solitude and prayer, resolved to proceed alone, 
and, taking with him his service book and sacramental 
chalice, he stole away in the dark. When his clergy 
came to call him in the morning and found that he 
had gone, they were struck with a sense of shame, and 
hurrying after him, some on foot and some on horse- 
back, they prostrated themselves at his feet and en- 
treated him to return with them, promising that they 
would accompany him on the following day. On Pagan 
reaching Stettin he found that the pagan priests hadaritettin. 
regained much of their lost influence, a pestilence 
which had broken out having been interpreted as a sign 
that the gods were angry at the conversion of the people 
to Christianity. An assault on one of the Christian 
churches failed of its purpose owing to the sudden illness 
which befell one of the ringleaders of the attack, who 
was a relapsed Christian. On his recovery he persuaded 
his fellow-townsmen to spare the church, but to erect 
a pagan altar by its side, so that they might secure the 
joint protection of the Christian and heathen deities. 

^ See above, p. 405 f . 


Soon after this, whilst the frenzy of the pagans against 
the Christians was still at its height. Otto and his party 
reached the gates of the city. On his arrival he entered 
one of the Christian churches, but as soon as his presence 
became known, armed men, led on by the pagan priests, 
gathered round, bent upon the immediate destruc- 
tion of the church and its occupants. Otto had never 
been in greater danger, but his courage did not fail. 
After commending himself and his companions to God 
in prayer, he walked forth, dressed in his bishop's robes 
and surrounded by bis clergy, who carried a cross and 
relics, and chanted psalms and hymns. His courage 
and the calmness and dignity of his action amazed and 
overawed the pagans, and when a lull in the tumult 
occurred some of those who were favourably disposed 
Inter- towards the Christians intervened and urged that the 
witstack. priests should defend their cause with arguments rather 
than by violence. Amongst their number was a chief 
named Witstack (Vitstacus), whom Otto had previously 
baptized, and who, after being taken prisoner in an 
expedition against the Danes, had obtained his release, 
in answer, as he believed, to prayer addressed to the 
Christians' God. On Sunday, two days after the 
attack on the church. Otto, accompanied by Witstack, 
went to the market place and there addressed an 
assembly of the people. At the end of his address a 
heathen priest blew a trumpet and called upon the 
people to take vengeance on the enemy of their national 
gods. Lances were poised, and the crowd seemed 
about to carry their threats into execution, when once 
again the undaunted behaviour of the bishop over- 
awed his enemies and they suffered him to depart in 


peace. On the following day the people assembled in 
order to decide upon their action in the matter of 
religion, and, after a debate, which lasted from early 
morning till midnight, a decision was reached that 
Christianity should be accepted as the true religion and 
all traces of idolatry should be destroyed. Otto soon 
afterwards received back those who had apostatized 
and baptized many others. 

From Stettin he proceeded to Julin, where he con- Revisits 
solidated the work that had been accomplished, and, ^^^^^' 
before returning to Bamberg, in 1128, he visited the 
other churches which he had helped to establish in 
Pomerania. At this time he expressed a great desire 
to evangelize the Ruthenians who were fanatical 
heathen, but was unable to accomplish his desire. 
On one occasion after his return to Bamberg, having 
learnt that a number of Pomeranian Christians had 
been taken captive by pagans, he ordered a quantity 
of cloth to be purchased at Halle and sent to Pomerania 
to be used as a ransom for the captives. He continued 
to show an active interest in the Missions which he Death of 
had helped to estabUsh till his death on June 30, 1139.i ^39! 

Judged by the visible results which accompanied his Results of 
work, Otto was the most successful missionary in^^^^*^"*^- 
mediaeval times, and his success was the more remark- 
able in view of the fact that he was never able to speak 
to the Pomeranians in their own language, but had to 
rely upon the services of interpreters. It is true that 

^ His biographer writes concerning mediocres cum plebe rustica,na omnes 

his death: "Flebat civitas universa, patrem ademptum lugebant amarius 

juvenes et virgines, senes cum juniori- quanto ab omnibus ilUs carius ipse 

bus, flebat omnis ordo, flebat omnis amabatur." 
rehgio, divites et pauperes, no biles et 


he had recourse to material force or to the^threats of 
its use, but he always preferred to rely upon gentler 
influences, and never hesitated to run any personal 
risk in order to win the confidence and the affection of 
the people whom he passionately desired to help. To 
his faith and courage and his constant reliance upon the 
power of prayer more than to any political influences 
the results which he achieved must be attributed. 
His failure His failure to arrange for the training of any Pomeranian 
lisha clergy, and the recourse which he was accordingly 
Church, obliged to have to German clergy, who in customs, 
dispositions, and language differed widely from those to 
whom they ministered, rendered it impossible for the 
Church which he helped to establish to become the 
Church of the people. Moreover, the German colonists 
who, in ever-increasing numbers, were brought into 
the country to repeople the districts which had been 
devastated by war, tended to make the earlier in- 
habitants less well disposed to the German clergy, 
whose nationality was that of their oppressors. 
Forcible ^hc island of Rugen, which lay off the coast of 

conver- o ^ ./ , 

sionof Pomerania, was inhabited by Slavonic pagans who 
Island. were fanatically addicted to idolatry and opposed to 
the introduction of Christianity. Whilst Otto was 
engaged in preaching in Pomerania about 1127 he 
announced his intention of visiting the island and was, 
as we have already seen, with difficulty dissuaded from 
doing so by his companions, who feared for his safety. 
Ulric, one of his clergy, actually set sail for Rugen 
but was driven back by a storm. In 1168 Waldemar, 
King of Denmark, assisted by the chiefs of Pomerania, 
after a series of battles succeeded in subjugating the 


island, and a militant bishop named Absalom of 
Roeskilde^ undertook the forcible conversion of its 
inhabitants to the Christian faith. 

He entered into an agreement with the inhabitants 
of the capital, Arcona, by which they bound them- 
selves to accept Christianity and to hand over to 
Christian clergy the landed estates which belonged to 
the idol temples. Their chief idol Svantovit was re- Destmc- 
garded with the utmost awe by the inhabitants, and-do^svan- 
a vast crowd gathered round the men whom Absalom ^'*^^*- 
sent to effect its destruction, anticipating their sudden 
death. Even when it had fallen to the ground after 
its feet had been cut away with axes, the people of 
Rugen were afraid to touch it and the services of 
captives and of strangers who were staying in Arcona 
were requisitioned in order to drag the idol into the 
Danish camp. Its progress to the camp was accom- 
pKshed amid the mingled lamentations and jeers of the 
onlookers. On reaching the camp it was chopped up 
to form firewood for cooking the food of the soldiers.^ 
A similar fate befell other idols in Arcona and else- 

^ Saxo Grammaticus, who under- and Saxo Grammaticus explain the 

took the writing of his history at the name Svantovit as equivalent to Saint 

suggestion of Absalom, speaks of him Vit (Sanctus Vitus), and suggest that 

as "miUtiseetreligionissociatofulgore the name originated in the ninth 

conspicuus." Again he writes con- century, when monks from Corvey, 

ceminghim, "nequeenim minussacro- the patron saint of which was St. Vit, 

rum attinet cultui, pubUce reUgionis attempted to preach the Christian 

hostes repellere, quam cseremoniarum faith in Rugen. It is more probable 

tutelae vacare," lib. xiv. that the veneration of St. Vit was 

2 For an account of the worship of introduced in later times in the hope 

Svantovit see Gesta Danorum, by that it might supplant the worship of 

Saxo Grammaticus, lib. i.; Chronica Svantovit,the change being faciUtated 

Thietmari, lib. vi. ; Chronicon Slav- by the similarity of sound of the two 

orum, by Helmhold, lib. i. 52, 53 ; ii. names. Svantovit probably means 

12; also La Mythologie Slave, par " sacred oracle. " 
L. Leger, pp. 76-107, Both Helmhold 


where. Amongst the idols destroyed by Absalom were 

three which had respectively seven, five, and four 


Building A number of Christian churches were forthwith 

tian built, which were served by clergy whom Absalom 

churches. ^^^^ ^^^^ from Denmark, and for whose support he 

himself provided. Several miracles of healing were 

attributed to the effects produced by their prayers, 

but the Danish historian is careful to tell us that these 

cures were not to be attributed to the sanctity of the 

missionaries, but were granted by God in order to 

facilitate the conversion of the people.^ 

After the Danish conquest the profession of 
Christianity spread throughout the island and efforts 
were made by the clergy who came from Denmark 
to instruct the people in the faith which they had 
been induced to accept. 


The Slavs At the close of the tenth century, when the first 

m ^"^^^^' Q^tt^jj^p^g ^^re made to introduce Christianity into 

Prussia, the population, which was for the most part 

of Slavonic origin, included only a small number of 

Germans. The country was at this time divided into 

eleven practically independent states, the inhabitants 

of which were fanatical idolaters, and in every town 

Their and village a temple was to be found. Their chief 

chief gods, g^^^ were Percunos,^ the god of thunder, Potrimpos, 

the god of corn and fruits, and Picullos, the god of the 

^ See SaxoGrammaticuSjic?.:" quod cessum videri potest." 
potius lucrandae gentis respectui quam ^ fe, the Russian Perun, 

sacerdotum sanctitati divinitus con- 


lower regions. Peter de Duisburg, the author of the 
Chronicon Prussice, writes : " They worshipped as a 
god every creature, whether it were the sun, the moon, 
the stars, or thunder, as well as birds, quadrupeds, and 
toads. They had also groves, plains, and sacred waters, 
and in these none dared to cut wood, to cultivate fields, 
or to fish." ^ Every man was allowed to have three 
wives, who were regarded as slaves, and were expected 
to commit suicide on the death of their husband. On 
the death of the chiefs, or nobles, their slaves, maid- 
servants, horses, hunting dogs, hawks, and armour 
were burnt together with the body.^ It can easily be 
understood that the fierceness and cruelty of the 
Prussians made the task of the pioneer missionaries 
one of no ordinary hazard. 

The first missionary who attempted to preach the Adalbert 
Gospel in Prussia was Adalbert, archbishop of Prague. 997. ^^^^' 
After working in Bohemia for several years he visited 
Boleslav I, the duke of Poland, in the hope of develop- 
ing missionary work in his country, but he eventually 
determined to go as a pioneer missionary to Prussia. 
Having received from the duke a vessel and thirty 
soldiers to act as bodyguard, he sailed to Dantzic 
(Gedania), on the borders of Prussia and Poland, in 
997. After baptizing a number of its inhabitants he 
set sail again, and, having landed on the opposite 
coast, he sent back the vessel and his bodyguard, and, 
accompanied only by two priests, named Benedict and 
Gaudentius, he disembarked on a small island at the 
mouth of the River Pregel. Driven away by its 
inhabitants, he and his companions landed on the 

1 Chronicon, p. 79. * Chronicon, p. 80. 


coast of Samland on the other side of the Pregel. 
Having been refused a hearing by the inhabitants of 
this district, they began to retrace their steps, and 
after five or six days passed through woods, the dreari- 
ness of which they enKghtened by singing spiritual 
His mar- sougs, till at length they came to open fields. Here, 
SarnL^d!^ after they had celebrated the Holy Communion, they 
lay down on the grass and presently fell into a deep 
sleep, from which they were roused by a tumultuous 
band of heathen, who seized and bound them. "Be 
not troubled, my brethren," said Adalbert to his two 
companions, " we know for whose name we suffer. 
What is there more glorious than to give up life for 
our precious Jesus ? " Thereupon a heathen priest 
named Siggo plunged a lance into his body, and with 
his eyes fixed on heaven Adalbert yielded up his life. 
The date of his death was April 23, 997. 
Bruno of The ucxt missionary to preach to the Prussians was 
mart^ed, Bruuo of Qucrfurt, who was surnamed Bonifacius. 
1008. jj^ ^^^ h^eji a court chaplain to Otto III, and it was 
apparently a picture of the English Boniface that he 
saw in Rome which led him to resolve to withdraw 
from the court and devote himself to the work of a 
missionary. Having become a monk of the Order of 
St. Benedict, he obtained from Pope Sylvester II a 
commission to preach the Gospel to the heathen, and, 
with this end in view, the Pope consecrated him and 
bestowed upon him the pall of an archbishop. He 
started for Prussia in 1007 with eighteen companions, 
but all suffered martyrdom on February 14, 1008. 
Bishop For more than a century no further efforts were made 

So^mutz, to evangehze Prussia, but in 1141 Bishop Heinrich of 



Olmutz made another attempt, which was, however, 
unproductive of result. Nothing more was done till 
1207, when Gottfried, whose name suggests a German Gottfried, 
origin, and who was abbot of Lukina in Poland, sailed ^^^^• 
down the River Vistula (Weichsel), accompanied by a 
monk named Philip and some other Cistercian monks, 
and succeeded in winning over to the Christian faith 
two chiefs named Phalet and Sodrach. The murder of 
PhiKp interrupted the work for a time, but in 1210 
Christian, a native of Freienwalde in Pomerania, who Bishop 
had been a Cistercian monk at the monastery of^'^*'^""* 
OUva, near Dantzic,i after obtaining the approval of 
Innocent III 2 and the help of several other monks, 
restarted the Mission. Having met with a considerable 
amount of encouragement he was nominated as bishop 
of Prussia in 1212, and in 1215 he visited Rome, attended 
by two Prussian chiefs, in order to report his success 
to Pope Innocent, and was then consecrated as bishop. 
The Pope expressed much interest in the Mission, and Letter 
when Christian returned to Prussia he wrote a letter i^^^eeT 
urging the dukes of Pomerania and Poland not to 
turn the spread of Christianity in Prussia into a means 
for oppressing the Prussians. "We beseech and 
exhort you," he wrote, " for the sake of Him who came 
to save the lost and to give His life a ransom for many, 
do not oppress the sons of this new plantation, but 
treat them with the more gentleness, as they are hable 

1 According to another authority mending the Mission to the Cistercian 
he had been monk at Lukina. monks (1212) he writes, " OUm de 

2 In a letter to the archbishop of nostra licentia inceperunt seminare in 
Gnesen (1210) the Pope writes, "Ad partibus Prussise verbum Dei." See 
partes PrussiaB de nostra hcentia Migne, P. L„ ccxvi., col. 316, 669. 
accesserunt," and in a letter com- Epp. 128, 147. 


to be misled and to relapse into paganism, since the 

old bottles can scarcely hold the new wine." ^ 

Christian returned to Prussia, accompanied by two 

Prussian chiefs, Warpoda and Suawabona, who had 

been baptized in Rome; but soon after his return a 

reaction against the Christian missionaries occurred. 

Moved, partly by a dislike for Christianity, but chiefly 

by their repugnance to submit to the exactions of the 

Massacre Christian chiefs of Poland and Pomerania, the Prussians 

tians"^ rose in force and destroyed nearly three hundred 

Christian churches and chapels and massacred many 


Knights Bishop Christian then, despairing of effecting the 

Brethren . ^t^'i pi ijj. 

of Dobrin, convcrsiou 01 Prussia by peaceiul means, resolved to 
^^^^ follow the example set by Bishop Albert in Livonia, 
and accordingly he founded the Order of the Knights 
Brethren of Dobrin, whose constitution was similar 
to that of the Order of the Sword. With their help 
he endeavoured (1219) to compel the Prussians to accept 
the Christian faith. Their aid proved, however, to be 
insufficient for the task, and Bishop Christian was 
forced to look elsewhere for helpers. In 1189 there 
had come into existence before the town of Acre an 
Order of " Order of Teutonic Knights," whose object was to 
Knights! succour German pilgrims or crusaders in the Holy 
Land. In 1238 this Order was united to the " Order 
of the Sword," and the union was solemnized at Rome 
in the presence of the Pope. The United Order under- 
took to subjugate the Prussians, and for nearly fifty 
years they carried on a remorseless war against them. 
Little by little they overran the country, building 

^ Ep. 148. ^ Chronicon, p. ii. c. 1. 


castles at Culm, Thorn, Marienwerder, Elbing and 
elsewhere, in order to maintain their conquests. 
Baptism was made the condition of enjoying any 
kind of civil rights, and those who refused to be baptized 
were regarded and treated as slaves. In 1233 Bishop 
Christian was captured by the heathen and held as a 
prisoner for several years until a ransom had been paid. 
In 1243 the Pope created the bishoprics of Culm, Four new 
Pomerania, Ermeland, and Samland, each of these rics,*^F243. 
districts being again divided into three parts, one part 
of which was subjected to the bishop, whilst the other 
two parts were held by the brethren of the Order.^ 
As churches and monasteries were built throughout 
the country, sacrifices to idols, infanticide, polygamy, 
and the burning of the dead were gradually discon- 
tinued. The Pope from time to time impressed upon 
the knights the duty of treating the people with kindness 
and upon the clergy the duty of giving careful instruc- 
tion to those under their care. In 1251 schools began 
to be built, and Dominican friars ^ endeavoured to 
give to the people an intelligent knowledge of the faith 
which they had been compelled to accept. In 1260ReUgious 
the knights suffered defeat at the hands of the 
Lithuanians, who burnt eight of them alive in honour 
of their gods, whereupon the Prussians rose again 
in revolt and murdered many of the clergy and 
destroyed their churches and monasteries. It was 
not till 1283 that the knights, aided by other soldiers 
whom the Pope summoned to their aid, gained 

^ Bishop Christian, who had lost the ^ In 1230 Gregory IX had autho- 

favour of the Pope, was offered, but rized the Dominicans to take part in 

did not accept, one of the four sees. the work of evangelizing Prussia. 
He died in 1245. 



a final victory. The knights then became the rulers 
of the land, the bishops, who were often selected 
from their ranks, being rendered dependent on 
Oppres- The oppression of the Slavs who formerly inhabited 
Slavs. Pomerania and other districts in the neighbourhood of 
the Baltic by their German conquerors was as cruel 
as it was persistent. Though it was at times exercised 
in the name of religion, it was carried on long after the 
Slavs had become Christians. Krasinski, comparing 
the conduct of the Germans with that of Mohammedan 
Mongols conquerors, writes, " The Mongols who conquered the 
tians. north-eastern principalities of Russia under the 
descendants of the terrible Genghis Khan, and who 
are always quoted as the acme of all that is savage and 
barbarous, not only left to the conquered Christians 
full religious liberty, but they exempted all their clergy 
with their families from the capitation tax imposed upon 
the rest of the inhabitants. Neither did they deprive 
them of their lands or bid them forget their national 
language, manners and customs. The Mohammedan 
Osmanlis left to the conquered Bulgarians and Servians 
their faith, their property and their local municipal 
institutions, whilst the Christian German princes and 
bishops divided amongst themselves the lands of the 
Slavonians who were either exterminated or reduced 
to bondage by whole provinces." ^ 
Arch- In 1245 the Pope appointed Albert Suerbeer as 

Suerbeer, archbishop of Prussia, and placed under him the 
bishoprics of Livland and Estland, and in 1255 he 

^ Lectures on the Religious History of the Slavonic Nations, by Valerian 
Krasinski, 1869, p. 8 f. 


became bishop of Riga with the title and authority 
of an archbishop. 

There is a note of pathos, not to say tragedy, in the 
story of the conversion of Pomerania and of Prussia, 
inasmuch as in both cases the land did not become 
Christian till the inhabitants whom it was sought to 
convert had been practically exterminated, and this 
as a direct result of the process of conversion. In both 
instances the Church which was eventually established 
was in chief part composed of Germans or men of 
Teutonic race who forcibly supplanted the earlier 
Slavonic inhabitants. In the case of Prussia the The con- 
methods employed and the results attained remind p^ug^a *^ 
us painfully of the missionary activities of the Spanish ^^^^^^ 
conquerors of Mexico and the West Indies. The 
judgment, moreover, which Prescott passes upon the 
Conqueror of Mexico is the judgment which the charit- 
able student of the conversion of Prussia will be inclined 
to pass upon the Christian knights who forced upon that 
land a profession of Christianity. Prescott writes : 
" When we see the hand red with blood . . . raised 
to invoke the blessing of Heaven on the cause which 
it maintains, we experience something like a sensation 
of disgust at the act, and a doubt of its sincerity. But 
this is unjust. We should throw ourselves back into 
the age — ^the age of the Crusades. . . . Whoever has 
read the correspondence of Cortes . . . will hardly 
doubt that he would have been among the first to lay 
down his life for the faith. . . . There can be no doubt 
that Cortes, with every other man in his army, felt he 
was engaged in a holy crusade." ^ 

^ Conquest of Mexico, vii. 5 and vi. 3. 


The only other country in Europe in which the forcible 
conversion of the people was accompanied by cruelty 
similar to that which attended the conversion of Prussia 
was, as we shall see later, the kingdom of Norway, 
but in this case the oppression of its non-Christian 
inhabitants was of comparatively short duration and 
was followed by religious tolerance, which did much to 
obliterate the effects of the period of persecution. 



Of the first introduction of Christianity into Poland Methodius 
we have no satisfactory record. Methodius (d. 885)/^ 
who became the evangeUst and archbishop of Moravia, 
which bordered on Poland, made some attempt to 
evangelize it, and in 949 missionaries from Moravia are 
said to have founded a church at Kleparz near Cracow 
where, for five centuries. Christian services were con- 
ducted in the national language. 

In 966 Duke Mieceslav^ (or Mjesko), the first king Baptism 
of Poland, married Dambrowka the sister of Boleslav II siL^gee. 
(of Bohemia), and as a result of her influence he received 
baptism. Hardly any information is available which 
throws light upon the conversion of the Poles to a 
nominal Christianity, but the result was due more to 
political than to moral suasion. Having embraced 
Christianity for himself Mieceslav regarded it as his 
duty to make his subjects Christians with the least 
possible delay. A bishopric was estabUshed at Posen a Wshop- 
in 968, but the means which he adopted for securing pog^n^ 
adherents to his new faith were not such as to com- ^^^* 
mend its adoption to his subjects, or to render possible 
missionary efforts of a more enduring character. Thiet- 
mar (Ditmar), the bishop of Merseburg, states that he 

^ Pronounced Meecheslav. 
2 E 433 


issued a proclamation forbidding them to eat meat 
between Septuagesima Sunday and Easter Day and 
threatening them with the loss of their teeth in case of 
disobedience. Thietmar pleads that, as the Poles were 
a people who needed to be tended like oxen and 
chastised like dilatory asses, nothing could be 
accomplished by their ruler except by means of severe 
punishments.^ The threatened punishments did not 
however meet even with superficial success. 

The subsequent marriage of King Mieceslav (982) 
with his fourth wife Oda, who was the daughter of a 
German count, and had apparently been a nun,^ re- 
introduc- sultcd in the introduction of many clergy from Germany, 
foreign Italy and France, and in the establishment of closer 
clergy. relations between the Roman Church and the Christian 
communities in Poland. Oda helped to establish 
several monasteries throughout Poland, and the close 
relations which existed between the Polish and the 
German Courts tended to increase the influence exerted 
by the German clergy throughout Poland. Many 
parishes in Poland were placed in charge of German 
clergy who were unable to speak to their people in their 
own language, and many of the monasteries made it a 
rule to admit only those who were of German nation- 
ality. As late as the thirteenth century Polish bishops 
found it necessary to enjoin the parish clergy to preach 
in the language understood by the people and not in 
the German language, and to prohibit the appointment 
of priests unacquainted with the national language.^ 
Mieceslav died in 992 and was succeeded by his son 

^ See Thieimari Chronicon, v. 861 ; ® See Krasinki's Lectures on the 

ix. 2, 240. Migne, P. L. cxxxix. religious history of the Slavonic 

2 Thietmar, iv. 57, 895. nations, p. 173. 


Boleslav. In 1000 the Emperor Otto III, on the Boiesiav. 
occasion of a visit to Gnesen, created this city a 
metropohtan see and gave it authority over the sees 
of Breslau, Cracow and Colberg.^ During the troublous 
years at the beginning of the eleventh century the chief 
disputants were the Germans and the German sym- 
pathizers who represented a nominal Christianity, and 
the Slavs, who were for the most part heathen. The 
tendency of the intermittent fighting was to increase 
German influence and the number of German settlers. 
Boiesiav was succeeded in 1026 by his son Mieceslav II, 
who died in 1034. On his death the heathen party a heathen 
regained the ascendancy, bm'nt many of the monasteries, io34.^^^' 
and killed some of the bishops and other clergy. The 
miseries of the people were increased by two foreign 
wars, one with Russia and the other with Bohemia. 
Casimir, a son of Mieceslav II, who was eventually Casimir. 
chosen (1040) to succeed him, had become a monk and 
was living in a monastery at the time of his election 
to the throne. Having been released from his vows 
by the Pope Benedict IX, he became king and soon 
afterwards married Maria the sister of Yaroslav, the 
prince of Kiev. As a result of his influence the use 
of the Slavonic liturgies was still further restricted 
and the Pope obtained greater control over the Polish 

Casimir introduced monks from the monastery of Cluny 
and founded for them two monasteries, one near Cracow 
and the other in Silesia, which at this time formed part 
of the kingdom of Poland. His successor Boiesiav II Boiesiav 
(1058-1081) murdered with his own hand Stanislaus ^^* 

^ Milman, Latin Christianity, ii. 485. 


bishop of Cracow, who had denounced his many crimes, 
and in consequence of the unpopularity which this act 
provoked he fled as an exile into Hungary, where he 
died in 1082. 
lavasion During the reign of Boleslav V (1227-79) the Mongols 
^^^l^ invaded Poland and carried off many prisoners and 
much plunder. Cracow was burnt in 1241. In 1386 
the kingdom of Poland was united with that of 

1 See below, p. 521. 



In 780, whilst Willehad was engaged in preaching inAtre- 
Wigmodia, one of his clergy, named Atrebanus, visited 780.^^' 
the Ditmars ^ who dwelt to the south-west of Denmark 
immediately to the north of the town of Hamburg. 
Liudger a little later, wished to go as a missionary to 
Denmark, but Charlemagne refused his consent. Soon 
after the accession of Louis the Pious, the successor of 
Charlemagne, Harald Klak king of Jutland soHcited 
his help to enable him to make himself king of Denmark. 
It was agreed that an army of Franks and Slavonians 
should be sent to his assistance, and Ebo, archbishop Arch- 
of Rheims and primate of France, took part in theEbo!'823. 
expedition in the hope that he might be able to intro- 
duce Christianity into Denmark. He was accompanied 
by Willerich bishop of Bremen and went as the legate 
of Pope Pascal and with the formal approval of the 
diet of Attigny. A start was made in the early spring 
of 823 and a centre of naissionary work was established 
at Welanao in Holstein. 

In 826, when the Danish king and his wife, together 
with a train of about 400 followers, visited Louis at 

1 Until the conquest by Prussia cxviii. col. 1018. " Atrebanum vero 
of Schleswig and Holstein in 1864 clericum in Thiatmaresgao." Atre- 
these provinces formed part of the banus was one of those who were 
kingdom of Denmark. killed by Wittekind in 782. 

^ See Vita WiUehadi, vi. Migne, 



Baptism Ingelheim, the emperor stood as godfather to the king, 
of Danish ^^^ ^^^ empress Judith as godmother to the queen, 
on the occasion of their baptism in Mainz cathedral. 
With the king and queen were baptized a large part 
of their retinue. In view of the return of Harald to 
Denmark Ebo was anxious to find a capable missionary 
whom he might send with him and who might help to 
confirm the king and the other newly-made Christians 
in their faith. The missionary who was selected, and 
who himself expressed an eager desire to undertake this 
arduous post, when others to whom the work had been 
Anskar, Suggested hung back,^ was a monk named Anskar, 
or Ansgar, who was born near Corbie in the diocese of 
Amiens about 801. Educated first of all at the 
monastery of Corbie, he was afterwards transferred 
to New Corbie in WestphaUa, where he acted as a 
teacher in the school and a preacher in the sur- 
rounding districts. As a boy he had frequently seen 
visions, and in one of these he seemed to be lifted up to 
the Source of all light and to hear a voice saying to 
him ' ' Go and return to me crowned with martyrdom." ^ 
In another vision, which he had before setting out for 
Sweden, having obtained an assurance that his sins 
were forgiven, he asked, ''Lord, what would'st thou 
have me to do ? " and received the answer, " Go, 
preach the word of God to the tribes of the heathen." ^ 
When the proposal to accompany Harald was suggested 
to him by the abbot Wala, he himself eagerly accepted, 

1 See Adam Brem. 17. " Nemo ^ yif^^ c. 6. The life of Anskar 

doctorum facile posset inveniri qui was written by Rimbert, his deacon 

cum iUis ad Danos vellet pergere and his successor as archbishop of 

propter crudelitatem barbaricam qua Bremen, 

gens ilia ab omnibus fugitur." ^ Vita, c. 15. 


but only one of his companions, a monk named Autbert, accom- 
was wilhng to accompany him, and the two, after iuTbert.^ 
receiving encouragement and material assistance from 
the Emperor, proceeded together to Cologne. Here 
Bishop Hadebald presented him with a vessel in which 
to continue his journey and Harald himself joined him 
as a passenger. During the two years in which Anskar 
laboured as a missionary in Denmark he started a 
school at Schleswig for twelve boys whom he hoped a mis- 
eventually to train as missionaries. It does notschToUt 
appear that he achieved any large amount of success ^^^^^^^^s- 
as a result of his preaching and at the end of two years, 
in 828, when Harald was himself driven out of his 
kingdom, Anskar also retired from Schleswig, and soon 
afterwards went on a pioneer missionary journey to 

King Harald had roused the bitter hostility of his 
subjects by his destruction of their temples and 
by endeavouring to force them to adopt his own faith.^ 
He was succeeded by King Horick who at the be- King 
ginning of his reign opposed the spread of the Christian 
faith, but later on withdrew his opposition. The 
favour which he showed towards the Christians pro- 
voked his heathen subjects and other heathen chiefs 
to rise in rebellion, and a battle, which lasted for three 
days and which was fought near Flensburgh in 854, 
resulted in the complete victory of the heathen and the 
destruction of nearly all King Horick's relations and 
chiefs. His one remaining descendant Horick II, who Horick ii. 
was left as regent over a small portion of the country, 

^ See Saxo GrammatictLS, ix. 460, inconditse patriae Christianismi sacra 
" delubra diruit, victimarios pro- primus intulit, rejectoque demonum 
scripsit, flamiaium abrogavit, atque cultu divinum emulatus est." 


forbad for a time the practice of Christian worship, but 
ere long he invited Anskar to send missionaries again 
into his country. He also caused the church at 
Schleswig to be reopened and to be provided with a 
bell, the use of which had never before been allowed,^ 
and soon afterwards gave permission for a second 
church to be built at Ripen in Jutland. 

After his return to Hamburg Anskar devoted himself 
to the organization and administration of the united 
diocese of Hamburg and Bremen.^ One of the last 
incidents which his biographer records is his inter- 
vention with some of the chiefs in North Albingia in 
order to secure the release of a number of Christians 
Death of who had been seized as slaves.^ He died at Bremen 
865.^^"^' on Feb. 3, 865, at the age of sixty-four, after spending 
altogether thirty-four years in missionary labours. His 
one regret as he lay ill was that his hope and expecta- 
tion of winning a martyr's crown had not been fulfilled. 
As he lay dying he repeated over and over again the 
words : " Lord be merciful to me a sinner : into Thy 
Character hauds I commcud my spirit." His biographer dwells 
of Anskar. ^p^^^ j^-g charity, his asceticism and his humility. He 
supported a hospital at Bremen for the sick and needy, 
he gave a tenth part of his income to the poor and gave 
them a share of any presents which he received, and 
every five years he gave an additional tithe of the 
animals which he possessed in order that the poor 
might receive their full share. Whenever he went 
on a tour throughout his diocese he would never sit 
down to dinner without ordering some poor people to 
be brought in to share the meal, and during Lent he 

1 Vita, c. 54. 2 See below, pp. 473 n., 477. ^ yi^^ c. 66. 


would wash the feet of the poor and himself distribute 
bread and meat amongst them. He wore a hair shirt 
by day and by night ; in his earlier years he measured 
out his food and drink, and he chanted a fixed number 
of psalms when he rose in the morning and when he 
retired at night. He would also sing psalms as he 
laboured with his hands and would chant Htanies as 
he dressed or washed his hands, and three or four 
times a day he would celebrate Mass. Although his 
biographer attributes to him the working of nairades 
he never laid claim to this power himself. When one 
suggested to him that he could perform miracles of 
healing he repKed : " Were I worthy of such a favour 
from my God, I would ask that He would grant to me 
this one miracle that by His grace He would make of 
me a good man." ^ 

Bishop Wordsworth writes of him : " There can 
be no question of Anskar's saintliness, according to the 
standard of any age of Christendom. His missionary 
zeal and courage, his uncomplaining patience, his 
generosity ... his austere self-discipUne and his 
diligence in the work of his calKng were all striking 
featiu'es of his character. . . . His relations with Ebo, 
who might so readily have been regarded as his rival, 
seem to have been more than friendly. He evidently 
felt the great importance and fut\u:e possibilities of 
their joint mission and he seems to have done his 
best to leave it as a legacy to be fostered by the whole 
Church of Germany." ^ 

^ " Si dignus essem apud Deum nem." Vita, c. 67. 
meum rogarem quatenus unum mihi ^ The National Church of Sweden, 

concederet signum videlicet ut de by the late bishop of Salisbury, 

me sua gratia faceret bonum homi- p. 66. 


His mis- The policy with regard to the question of self-support 
poHcy^ in the Mission Field that Anskar adopted, and which 
he recommended to the missionaries whom he sent 
out, was this. He maintained that a missionary should 
ask nothing of those to whom he went but should rather 
endeavour, following the example of St. Paul, to sup- 
port himself by his own labour. At the same time he 
accepted from the emperor and from kings, and 
himself gave to his missionaries, what was needed 
for their subsistence, and in addition enabled them to 
make presents, by the gift of which friends and patrons 
might be secured amongst the heathen. 
Progress Missionary work both in Denmark and Sweden was 
action. Carried on under great difficidties and was frequently 
interrupted by the desolating raids made by the pagan 
tribes of the north. The Danes, however, who settled 
in England at this period became subject to Christian 
influences and a Dane named Odo became archbishop 
of Canterbury in 942. Referring to a period half 
a century or more after the death of Anskar, Adam of 
Bremen writes : " Let it suffice us to know that up to 
this time all (the kings of the Danes) had been pagans, 
and amid so great changes of kingdoms or inroads of 
barbarians some small part of the Christianity which 
had been planted by Saint Anskar had remained, the 
whole had not failed." ^ 
^ing During the earlier years of the tenth century King 

Gorm showed bitter hostility towards the Christians, 
but in 934 he was compelled by the German Emperor 
Henry to desist from persecuting them and at 
the same time to give up Schleswig to the German 

^ Adam Brem. i. 54. 


Empire. Schleswig was afterwards occupied to a 
large extent by Christian settlers and from it as a 
starting ground several efforts were made to spread 
Christianity in Denmark. One of these was made 
by Archbishop Unni of Hamburg,^ who exercised con- Arch- 
siderable influence with Harald the son of Gorm andunni.^ 
the heir to his throne. Harald's mother Thyra was 
a daughter of the first Christian prince Harald and 
she had influenced her son to declare himself a Christian 
although he had not been baptized. Harald himself King 
became king in 941 and reigned for nearly fifty years. ^Y.*^^' 
In 972, after an unsuccessful war with Otto I, he and His bap- 
the whole of his army accepted Christian baptism,^ ^°^' 
and on this occasion the emperor himself stood as 
godfather to his son Sweyno (Sweno). After his 
baptism he hesitated to renounce altogether his ancestral 
gods, but he gave encouragement to Christian mis- 
sionaries and endeavoured to establish churches and 
Christian institutions throughout Denmark.^ In 948 
Archbishop Adaldag of Hamburg had been encouraged 
by him to consecrate three bishops of German nationaUty Consecra- 
for Denmark, Hored, Reginbrand and Liafdag, thethree^ 
last of whom was a devoted and successful missionary. ^*®^°p^- 

After Harald had reigned nearly fifty years his son 
Swejni, although he had been baptized as a Christian, 
placed himself at the head of a pagan reaction and on 
the death of his father in battle he became king in 991. King 
On acceding to the throne he re-established paganism, 991!^^' 
expelled the Christian missionaries and destroyed 

1 Adam Brem. c. 61. said miraculously to have carried 

2 See Heimshringla, i. p. 393 f. molten iron in order to convince 

3 The story of Bp. Poppo, related Harald of the truth of Christianity, 
by Adam Brem. and Thietmar, who is is probably unhistorical. 


Sweyn many of the Christian buildings. Later on Sweyn 

England, invaded England, where he devastated wide districts, 
burning villages and plundering churches and monas- 
teries. Before his death in England on February 2, 
1014, he had abandoned his hostility towards Christianity 
and returned to the faith in which he had been baptized. 
After he resumed his profession of the Christian faith 
he took active measures to win over his Danish subjects 
to the same faith. Instead of applying to the Bishop 
of Hamburg for additional missionaries he caused 

Bishop Gotebald to be consecrated as a bishop in England and 
sent him to Denmark to act as a leader in a new mis- 
sionary campaign. His son Canute became an earnest 
supporter of the Christian faith. It was no easy 
task which the missionaries in Denmark essayed, — 
to influence a people who thought it disgraceful to 
shed tears over their own crimes, or on the occasion 

Canute, of the death of those whom they had loved.^ Canute 
issued orders forbidding honours to be shown to the 
pagan gods and directing that his subjects should 
everywhere be taught to say the Lord's Prayer and 
the Creed and to receive the Holy Communion three 
times a year. 

Of the many bishops whom Canute had consecrated 
in England for missionary work in Denmark Adam 
of Bremen mentions three by najne, Bernard bishop 
of Schonen (Sconia), Gerbrand bishop of Seeland and 
Reginbert bishop of Funen. It is uncertain whether 
these bishops were of English or of German nationality .^ 
Before the close of the twelfth century the influence 

1 Hauck's K. D. iii. 641. 

2 See Hauck's K, D. iii. 642 n. ; Adam Breftn. ii. 53. 


exerted by Christianity in Denmark had again de- 
creased and the God of the Christians was regarded 
in the same light as the national gods of the country 
and was referred to as " the German god." ^ Moreover, "TheGer- 
the profession of Christianity ceased to exert any^^^^^ 
definite influence upon the behaviour of its professors.^ 

The Faroe islands ^ were probably first colonized The Faroe 
by Grim Kamban during the reign of the Norwegian ^^^ 
king Harald Haarfager. Christianity was introduced 
by Sigmund Bresterson, one of the chief men in the 
islands, towards the end of the tenth century. King 
Olaf Tryggvason sent for him and offered him his 
friendship and great honour if he would become a 
Christian. He and his companions were accordingly 
baptized and, returning to the islands in 998 accom- 
panied by missionaries sent by King Olaf, he en- 
deavoured to persuade the islanders to follow his ex- 
ample. They, however, raised a strenuous opposition 
which was put down by force in the following year, 
when a large number of baptisms took place. Sigmund 
erected a church on his own estate and endeavoured 
to spread] the Christian faith, but as soon as the argu- 
ment of force was removed many of those who had 
been baptized relapsed into their former heathenism. 

Later on a bishopric was established at Kirkebo, 
but the islands are at present connected with the 
bishopric of Zealand. They now belong to Denmark, 
but prior to 1815 they belonged to Norway. 

^ *' Teutoniciis deus," cf. Ebo, iii. 1. professionem operibus polluentes." 

* See Saxo Qrammaticus, xiv. 893, ^ They are said to have derived 

'* qui tametsi chiistiano nomine cen- their name from the word " faar," 

serentur titulum moribus abdicabant, sheep. 



Iceland {Insula Glacialis) was apparently first visited 
by Irish Christians, traces of whose work were found 

First Nor- whcn the first Norwegian settlers arrived about 861. 

Im^ts, These settlers r emained heathen till 981, when T horwald, 

^^^' who was roving the seas as a pirate chief, f ell in with 
a_bishopj[^^ by whom Jiejwas 

Baptism instructed and_subseguently baptized as a Christian. 

waid.^^ The bishop visited Iceland in company with Thorwald 
and spent five years in travelling from place to place 
and preaching Christianity. One of those whom he 
baptized, Codran the father of Thorwald, had challenged 
the bishop to prove to him that the God of the Christians 
was stronger than the idol which he worshipped and 
which consisted of a large stone. The bishop accepted 
the challenge and proceeded to chant hymns over the 
stone until it burst in pieces.^ Needless to say the 
result brought conviction to those who witnessed the 
miracle. The preaching of the bishop encountered 
much opposition and, despite his remonstrance, 
Thorwald killed two of the scalds or national poets 
who had composed satires upon Christianity. In the 
northern part of the island a number of converts were 
obtained, one of whom Thorwald Spakbodvarssum 
built a church on his estate, to serve which the bishop 
appointed a priest. Soon after this the bishop re- 
turned to his own country. In 996 King Olaf 

stefner. Tryggvasou of Norway induced Stefner, a member of 
one of the principal famiUes in Iceland, to go as a 
missionary to his fellow-countrymen. He failed to 

^ Kristni Saga. 


influence them by his words, but destroyed several of 
their temples and idols, whereupon he and other 
Christians were forced to leave and to take refuge in 
Norway. The next to attempt the conversion of 
Iceland was one than whom it were hard to conceive 
a more unsuitable missionary. The author of the 
Heimskringla writes of him : " There was a Saxon 
priest who was called Thangbrand, a passionate, un- Thang- 
governable man, and a great man-slayer, but he was 
a good scholar and a clever man. The king (Olaf) 
would not have him in his house upon account of his 
misdeeds, but gave him the errand to go to Iceland 
and bring that land to the Christian faith." ^ King 
Olaf's authority procured for him a hearing, but his 
missionary activities met with little success, and having 
murdered two scalds who had ridiculed him, he was 
pursued as a murderer and returned to Norway in 
999. King Olaf threatened to take vengeance for the 
repulse of Thangbrand on the Icelanders who were in 
Norway, but eventually agreed to pardon them on 
condition of their accepting baptism. In 1000 two 
Icelanders named Gissur and Hiallti, accompanied Gisaur and 
by a priest named Thormud and several other clergy, 
undertook a mission to Iceland.^ This mission met 
with more success and the Christians soon became an 
important section of the whole population. A meeting 
at which the introduction of Christianity was being 
discussed was interrupted by a messenger who came 
running to say that a frightful volcanic eruption had 
just occurred and that " a stream of lava had burst 
out at Olfus and would run over the homestead of 

^ Heimskringla, i. p. 441. ^ Id. i 466. 


Thorod the priest." Then the heathen began to say, 
'' No wonder that the gods are wroth at such speeches 
as we have heard." Whereupon Snorro, the (heathen) 
priest, spoke and said, " At what, then, were the gods 
wroth when this lava was molten and ran over the 
spot on which we now stand ? " 

The heathen eventually decided that, in accordance 
with their custom in times of great calamities, each of 
the four districts of the island should offer two men 
in sacrifice to their gods. When this proposal was 
adopted Hialti and Gissur said to their friends : " The 
pagans devote as sacrifices to their gods the most 
abandoned men and cast them headlong from pre- 
cipices. We will choose an equal number from the 
best of the people, who in the true sense shall devote 
themselves as offerings to our Lord Christ, shining 
forth to all as conspicuous examples of Christian life 
and confession." Of the results which attended this 
new missionary enterprise we have no information, 
but soon afterwards Sido-Hallr one of the leaders of the 
Christians came to an agreement with Thorgeir the 
supervisor of laws, which was subsequently ratified by 
a national coupcil, that the following new laws should 
General be cuactcd : 1. that all the people of Iceland should 
ance^of acccpt baptism and profess Christianity ; 2. that all 
r^ty!^ idol-temples and idols which stood in any public place 
should be destroyed ; 3. that anyone who offered 
sacrifices to idols in public or performed any public 
idolatrous ceremonies should be banished, but that 
the worship of idols in secret should not be prohibited. 
Though paganism continued to be recognised for some 
time as a private religion, the influence of Christianity 


tended to increase. King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway 
shortly after his accession in 995 sent an embassy to 
Iceland to urge that the exposure of infants and other 
pagan customs that still prevailed should be abolished. 
Until the middle of the eleventh century the bishops 
who had worked in Iceland had all been foreigners, 
but in 1056 Isleif, who had been sent by his father Bishop 
Gissur to Erfurt to be educated, was chosen by the Jose.' 
Icelanders as their bishop and fixed his see at Skalholt. 
A second see was founded in 1107 at Holum. The 
teaching and influence of these bishops who were 
natives of Iceland soon resulted in the extirpation 
of heathen worship and customs. The first bishops 
who were appointed by the Icelanders themselves exer- 
cised regal authority.^ 

Adam of Bremen gives an optimistic account of the condi- 
conditions prevailing in Iceland a little later than this. liTfnlce- 
He writes of its inhabitants : " As in their simphcity ^^^*^' 
they lead a holy life and seek nothing beyond what 
nature has bestowed on them, they can cheerfully say 
with the Apostle Paul, ' having food and raiment let 
us be therewith content,' for their mountains serve 
to them as forts, and their springs are their delight. 
Happy people whose poverty no one envies, and 
happiest in this that at the present time they have 
all received Christianity. Many things are remarkable 
in their manners, but above all their charity, which 
places all they own in common, alike to the foreigner 
and the native." ^ 

^ See Adam Bremensis, Descriptio Deo, ex scripturis, ex consuetudine 

insvlarum Aquikmis, 35, " episcopum aliarum gentium ille constituit, hoc 

habent pro rege, ad cujus nutum pro lege habent." 

respicit omnis populus, quicquid ex * Id. 




The The chief source of information relating to the early 
krin^a by history of Norway and the introduction of Christianity 
ituriTson. i^t^ this country is Snorro Sturleson, 1178-1241, whose 
work the Heimskringla {i.e. the World) was written 
in Icelandic.^ The author was murdered by Hakon 
the king of Norway in 1241. His work throws much 
light upon the religion and customs of the early in- 
habitants of Norway and of Iceland and may be re- 
garded as generally trustworthy. Until the latter 
half of the ninth century Norway was divided into a 
number of independent states or principalities, the 
Haraid first king to rule over the whole being Harald Haarfagar 
fagar' (Fair-hair),^ who in 933 resigned the throne to his son 
Eric Blodoxe (Bloody-axe). Soon after the death of 
Harald, which took place in 936, his youngest son 
Hakon, who had been residing with King Athelstan in 

1 An English translation was pub- well attested " {The National Church 
lished in 1844. See below, p. 604. of Sweden, p. 39 n.). The evidence, 

2 It is interesting to note that however, which is available relates ex- 
according to the Saga of Half dan the clusively to sons of princes, and we are 
Black (c. 7) Harald Haarfagar had inclined to agree with Laing, the Eng- 
received heathen baptism. Thus the ImhtTainsleitoYoi the Heimskringla,t}ia,t 
Saga states, " Queen Ragnhild gave this baptism was attributed by later 
birth to a son, and water was poured Christian writers to the ancestors of 
over him and the name Harald given their kings in order to enhance their 
him." Bishop Wordsworth referring dignity and sanctity. See Laing's 
to this statement writes : *' This Heimskringla, i. p. 82. 

ceremony of heathen baptism is 

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England and who had been baptized and instructed 
in the Christian faith, sailed for Norway, and having 
been joined by the principal jarls succeeded in estab- 
lishing himself as king, Eric was subsequently killed 
whilst fighting in England (944). 

The author of the Heimskringla writes : " King King 
Hakon was a good Christian when he canae to Norway, ^^^*^^- 
but as the whole country was heathen, with much 
heathenish sacrifice, and as many great people, as well 
as the favour of the common people, were to be con- 
ciliated, he resolved to practise his Christianity in 
private. But he kept Sundays, and the Friday fasts, 
and some token of the greatest holy-days. He made 
a law that the festival of Yule ^ should begin at the The Yule 
same time as Christian people held it and that every 
man, under penalty, should brew a measure of malt 
into ale and therewith keep the Yule holy as long as it 
lasted. It was his intent as soon as he had set himself 
fast in the land, and had subjected the whole to his 
power, to introduce Christianity." ^ He resided for 
a considerable time in the district of Drontheim, and 
when he thought that he could rely upon the support 
of his people he sent a message to England asking for a bishop 
a bishop and other teachers.^ When they arrived t^a^^ers 

from Eng 

^ The word Yule is derived from been monks at Glastonbury given l^'nd, 

Yiolner, which was one of Odin's by William of Malmesbury in De 

names. The festivities connected antiquitate Glaatoniensis Ecdesice, 

with this pagan celebration were then occurs the name " Sigefridus Norweg- 

amalgamated with those of the ensis episcopus." It is not impossible 

Christian festival, and the word that this may have been the bishop 

Yule-tide still exists as a synonym referred to in the Heimskringla. 

for Christmas. For evidence for and against this 

^ Heimskringla, i. 326, Eng. ed. identification see Hist, of the Ch. 

by Laing. and State in Norway, Willson, pp. 

* In the list of bishops who had 355 ff. 

452 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xvii. 

Hakon announced his intention to make Christianity 
the national rehgion and had several churches built 
and consecrated. When he invited the people to 
accept Christianity they expressed a desire that so 
important a proposal should be deferred for the con- 
Meeting of sideration of the Froste Thing (Assembly) which was 
Saf'soon to meet at Drontheim. The king began his 
f^^J^ address to the Thing by saying that ''it was his 
message and entreaty to all Bonders (landowners) 
and householding men both great and small, and to 
the whole pubhc in general, young and old, rich and 
poor, women as well as men, that they should all allow 
themselves to be baptized, and should beUeve in one 
God and in Christ the Son of Mary, and should refrain 
from all sacrifices and heathen gods and should keep 
holy the seventh day and abstain from all work on it 
and keep a fast on the seventh day." The king's 
Opposi- proposal was received with expressions of vehement 
introduc- dissatisfaction, which was voiced by one of the Bonders 
tionof present who said, " We Bonders, King Hakon, ... do 
ani^ty.' not kuow whether thou wishest to make vassals of us 
again by this extraordinary proposal that we should 
abandon the ancient faith that our fathers and fore- 
fathers have held from the oldest times, in the times 
when the dead were burnt, as well as since they are 
laid under mounds, and which, although they were 
braver than the people of our days, has served us as 
a faith to the present time." He went on to say that 
unless the king would abandon his proposals the Bonders 
would choose another king and would fight against 


At a harvest festival in honour of the gods, which 


occurred soon afterwards, great pressure was brought 
to bear upon the king to take part in the heathen 
ceremonial. When a goblet, that had been blessed in Hakon 
the name of Odin, had been handed to the king he misLs'with 
made the sign of the cross over it, and when one of the p^s*™"*- 
chiefs present exclaimed, " What does the king mean 
by doing so ? Will he not sacrifice ? " Earl Sigurd, 
who desired to mediate between the king and his 
subjects, replied, " He is blessing the full goblet in the 
name of Thor by making the sign of his hammer over 
it before he drinks it." ^ On the next day the king 
was pressed to eat horseflesh, the eating of which was 
regarded as an essential part of the ceremonial.^ He 
refused to do this, but at length, after the request had 
been many times repeated, he consented to " hold his 
mouth over the handle of the kettle, upon which the 
fat smoke of the boiled horseflesh had settled." 
Neither party, however, was satisfied with this com- 
promise. In the following winter eight chiefs who 
were opposed to the introduction of the new religion 
bound themselves, four to root out the Christianity 
which already existed, and the other four to compel 
the king to offer sacrifice to the national gods. The 
first fom- went to More, where they killed three Christian Murder of 
priests and burnt three chm'ches. When the king came priests*^ 
to More, on the occasion of the Yule feast, they in- 
sisted that he should offer sacrifice. This he refused 
to do, but he consented to eat some pieces of horse- 
liver and to drink goblets which had been filled in 

^ Heimskringla, i. p. 330. to the practice in a letter addressed 

2 The eating of horseflesh was to Boniface as "immundum atque 

pronounced to be sinful for Christians execrabile." 

by Pope Gregory III, who referred 

454 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xvii. 

honour of the gods. On this occasion too neither 
party was satisfied and the following summer the king 
began to collect an army, apparently with the intention 
of attacking those who were opposed to the adoption 
of Christianity. Whilst his plans were still undeveloped 
news reached him that the sons of his brother Eric 
had come from Denmark and were invading the country. 
At the battle of Augvaldsness the invaders were 
defeated and forced to retire. They returned however 
on several later occasions to raid the coasts of Norway 
and in a battle fought against them in 963 Hakon was 
Haraid killed. He was succeeded by Harald the eldest son 
963^^''''' of Eric who, together with his brothers, had been 
baptized in England. He and his brothers, ''when 
they came to rule over Norway made no progress in 
spreading Christianity, only they palled down the 
temples of the idols, and cast away the sacrifices where 
they had it in their power, and raised great animosity 
by doing so." 
Harald In 977 Harald Blaatland, the king of Denmark, 
fonqueS"^ conquercd Norway and appointed Earl Hakon as his 
NOTway, representative to rule over it, having first constrained 
him to accept baptism. After the baptism of Earl 
Hakon and his followers " the king gave them priests 
and other learned men with them and ordered that the 
earl should make all the people in Norway to be bap- 
tized." 1 On his return to Norway, however, Hakon allied 
himself with the heathen party and on one occasion, 
before a battle with a party of raiders at Jomsburg, 
A human he Sacrificed one of his own sons as an offering to Thor 
sacrifice. .^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ sccuring a victory. In 995 he was 

^ Heimshringla, i. p. 394. 


succeeded by Olaf Tryggvason. Olaf , prior to his oiaf Tryg- 
becoming king, had travelled much and had visited ^^^^*^^* 
England, Russia, Greece and Constantinople. He had 
learned something of the Christian faith in Bremen, 
but his baptism was brought about by a seer or fortune- 
teller in the Scilly Islands.^ This man, having con- 
vinced Olaf that he could forecast the future and 
having correctly foretold what would immediately 
befall him, urged him to be baptized. After his baptism His bap- 
he visited England where he was confirmed by Elphege ^^^' 
the bishop of Winchester in 994, in the presence of the 
Saxon king Ethelred. He then visited Dublin, which 
contained a large settlement of Norsemen, and there 
married Queen Gyda a sister of Olaf Quaran (Kvaran) 
the king of Dublin. During his visit to Dublin he was visit to 
invited by a Norwegian named Thorer (Thorir) to come 
to Norway where, he assured him, the people would 
welcome him as their king. 

On his way to Norway Olaf put in at the island of in the 
South Ronaldsa in the Orkneys, and after telling the islands. 
earl whom he met there that " he would lay waste 
the islands with fire and sword, if the people did not 
accept Christianity," he witnessed their baptism before 
proceeding on his voyage.^ 

On his arrival at Drontheim he was unanimously 
chosen as king of Norway. Soon after Hakon was 
murdered by one of his servants who brought his head 
to Olaf, but was executed by him for having killed 
his king. After his accession king Olaf " made it 

^ Of. Heimakringla, i. 397, but pos- monastery existed, 
sibly the islands meant are the ^ Heimskringla, i, 419. See also 

Skellig Islands on the S.W. coast above, p. 83. 
of Ireland, where at this time a 

456 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xvii. 

oiaf known that he recommended Christianity to all the 
mends the people in his kingdom, which message was well received 
^^nstian ^^^ approvcd by those who had before given him their 
promise, and these being the most powerful among the 
people assembled, the others followed their example, 
and all the inhabitants of the east part of Viken 
Forcible allowed themselves to be baptized. The king then 
of Chris- went to the north part of Viken ^ and invited every 
Vi^ken"^^^ ^^^ to accept Christianity, and those who opposed 
him he punished severely, kiUing some, mutilating 
others, and driving some into banishment." Ac- 
cording to Adam of Bremen, Liafdag, who became 
bishop of Ribe in Denmark in 948, preached beyond 
the sea, that is in Sweden and Norway. Viken was at 
this time subject to the king of Denmark. The author 
of the Heimskringla also states that Harald sent " two 
jarls to Norway to preach Christianity, which was 
done in Viken where King Harald's power prevailed." 
This Christianity had apparently disappeared before 
the time of Olaf. In the following spring Olaf pro- 
and ceeded northwards to Agder accompanied by a great 

^ ^'^' army and " proclaimed that every man should be 
baptized." To quote the words of the old Saga : 
" Thereafter were all folk baptized in the eastern part 
of Vik ; and then went the king to the northern parts 
thereof and invited all men to receive Christianity, 
and those who said nay chastised he severely, slaying 
some and maiming some and driving away others from 
the land. So it came to pass that the people of the 
whole of that kingdom over which his father Tryggvi 
had ruled aforetime, and likewise that which his kins- 

^ Heimskringla y i. 427. 


man Harald the Grenlander had possessed, received 
Christianity according to the bidding of King Olaf. 
Wherefore in that summer and in the winter thereafter 
were the people of the whole of Vik made Christian." ^ 
At a Thing held in Rogaland some opposition was 
encountered, but before the Thing dispersed all its 
members had received baptism.^ Soon afterwards 
the king summoned the Bonders of the Fiord district, 
South More and Romsdal, to meet him, to whom he 
'' offered two conditions, either to accept Christianity, 
or to fight." The result was that the inhabitants of 
these districts were also baptized.^ At this time 
Olaf destroyed the temple at Lade on the door of which 
Hakon had hung a large golden ring. At Nidaros Opposi- 
in the district of Drontheim Olaf encountered such Nidaros, 
serious opposition from the Bonders that he pretended 
to give way and expressed a desire to visit the place 
where " the greatest sacrifice-festival " was to be held, 
so that he might compare the customs of the pagans 
with those of the Christians. When the time for this 
festival, which was to be held at Maere, drew near, 
the king summoned a number of chiefs and other great a council 
Bonders to a feast which he had prepared at Lade. ^* ^^^''^' 
On the morning after the feast the king referred to the 
proposal that had been made that he should attend 
the great sacrifice-festival in honour of the heathen 
gods. He then went on to say, " If I, along with you, 
shall turn again to making sacrifice, then will I make 
the greatest of sacrifices that are in use, and I will 
sacrifice men. But I will not select slaves or male- 

1 The Sagas of Olaf Tryggvason and * Heimskringla, p. 429. 

Harald the Tyrant (Eng. ed.), p. 68. ^ j^j^ 431 


factors for this, but will take the greatest men only to 
be offered to the gods." ^ He then proceeded to name 
eleven of the principal men there present whom he 
The said he had selected to be offered as sacrifices. The 

submit. Bonders, realizing that they were not sufficiently 
strong to resist, submitted themselves to the king 
and were forthwith baptized. When the king came 
to Maere he appealed to the assembly which had 
gathered there to accept Christian baptism. When 
they expressed strong disapproval he asked if he might 
visit the temple which stood near and having entered 
Destruc- it, together with a few of his soldiers, he struck down 
heathen with his owii hand the image of Thor, whilst his men 
images, ^j^j.^^ dowu the othcr gods from their seats. The 
people, moved by the inability of their gods to defend 
their images, or overawed by the determined action 
of their king, agreed to be baptized and gave hostages 
to the king as a pledge that they would remain 
Christians. On another occasion the king " sailed 
northwards with his fleet to Halogaland. Wheresoever 
he came to the land, or to the islands, he held a Thing 
and told the people to accept the right faith and to be 
baptized. No man dared to say anything against it. 
The and the whole country he passed through was made 

"^rnadJ Christian." ^ As a result of this series of forcible 
tian.^'' conversions nearly the whole of Norway became 
nominally Christian within the space of four years. 
Death of In 1000 Olaf was worsted in a naval engagement 
against the united forces of Denmark and Sweden, 
and in order to avoid capture he threw himself over- 
board and was drowned. 

1 Heimskringla, i. 438 f ; Saga of Olaf T., p, 80. ^ Heimshringla, i. 445. 

Olaf, 1000. 


From the limited historical materials that are avail- His char- 
able it is hard to obtain any distinct information in ^^ ^^' 
regard to the sincerity of Olaf's religious beliefs, or in 
regard to the motives that induced him to become 
one of the most intolerant and unchristian defenders 
of the Christian faith which the history of the middle 
ages can produce. Although in public life he seemed 
to delight in cruelty, in private life he was sociable 
and generous. His religious fanaticism was to a large 
extent due to the religious education that he had 
received, his interpretation of which was influenced by 
the Viking traditions of his family and countrymen. 

After the death of Olaf , Eric, the brother-in-law of Accession 
King Canute, who was supported by the Danish and 
Swedish kings, ruled the country for about fifteen 
years, during the whole of which time Christianity 
made little progress. 

In 1015 Olaf Haraldson, a descendant of Harald okf Har- 
Haarfager, and usually known as Olaf the Saint, whose 1015.^' 
youth had been spent in piratical expeditions to England 
and elsewhere, succeeded in overthrowing the rule of 
the Swedes and Danes and in making himself king of 
Norway.^ As soon as he had established himself as 
king he sent to England and brought over both bishops 

^ The date of Olaf's baptism is to the faith of Christ, was washed in 

uncertain. According to the Heims- baptism and anointed with holy oil 

kringla he was baptized at Ringerike by the archbishop, and full of joy 

when he was three years old, but at the grace he had received returned 

WiUiam of Jumieges in his Chronicle, straightway to his own kingdom.'* 

referring to a visit paid by Olaf to A similar statement is made in the 

Duke Richard at Zoven, writes, Passio et miracula heati Olaui, by 

" King Olaf being attracted by the Archbishop Eystein, who adds that 

Christian rehgion, as were also some previous to his baptism at Rouen 

of his followers, on the exhortation " he had learned the truth of the 

of Archbishop Robert, was converted Gospel in England." 

460 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xvii. 

Mission- and clergy from thence. We may gather from the 
England, names of those who are particularly mentioned that 
they belonged to Danish famihes who had settled in 
England. Adam of Bremen specially mentions the 
names of Sigafrid, Grimkil, Rudolf and Bernard.^ 
He also invited the archbishop of Bremen to assist in 
the evangelization of Norway, 
oiaf's '' It was King Olaf's custom," writes the author of 

spread the the Heimskringla, "to rise betimes in the morning 
... and then go to church and hear the matins and 
morning mass. . . . Christian privileges he settled 
according to the advice of Bishop Grimkil and other 
learned priests and bent his whole mind to uprooting 
heathenism and old customs which he thought con- 
trary to Christianity." ^ 

Referring to a progress made by the king through 
the southern part of his kingdom, he writes, " The 
king proceeded southwards . . . stopping at every 
district and holding Things with the Bonders, and in 
each Thing he ordered the Christian law to be read, 
together with the message of salvation thereto be- 
longing, and with which many ill customs and much 
heathenism were swept away at once among the 
common people ; . . . the people were baptized in 
the most places on the sea-coast, but the most of them 
were ignorant of Christian law. . . . The king 
threatened the most violent proceedings against great 
or small who, after the king's message would not adopt 

^ See Adam Brem. ii. 55, " habuit ad regendum commisit. Quorum 

secum piultos episcopos et presby- clari doctrina et virtutibus erant Siga- 

teros ab Anglia, quorum monitu f rid, Grimkil, Rudolf et Bernard." 
et doctrina ipse cor suum Deo prse- ^ Heimskringla, ii. 52. 

paravit, subjectumque populum illis 


Christianity." ^ On a later occasion when he was 
visiting the people in the district of Vingulmark, in 
the uplands, " he enquired particularly how it stood 
with their Christianity, and where improvenaent was 
needed he taught them the right customs. If any 
there were who would not renounce heathen ways, he 
took the matter so zealously that he drove some out His pun- 
of the country, mutilated others of hands or feet, stung ^f ^^^e- 
their eyes out, hung up some, but let none go un- 1^®^®^®- 
punished who would not serve God. He went thus 
through the whole district, sparing neither great nor 
small. He gave them teachers and placed these as 
thickly in the country as he saw needful." ^ We can 
but hope that the Christianity which these teachers 
inculcated differed materially from that which their 
king strove to enforce. 

After he had been king for about five years he was Conver- 
informed that heathen sacrifices were being offered Maere** 
by the inhabitants of Maere near the head of the 
Drontheim Fiord, whereupon he made an attack upon 
the inhabitants of this district at the head of 300 armed 
men. " Some were taken prisoners and laid in irons, 
some ran away and many were robbed of their goods." 
The chronicler continues, without any sense of im- 
propriety or touch of humour, '' He thus brought 
the whole people (in this district) back to the right 
faith, gave them teachers, and built and consecrated 
churches." ^ Again, referring to the, uplands not far 
from Maere, he writes : " Here he laid hold of all the 
best men and forced them, both at Lesso and 
Dovre, either to receive Christianity or suffer death, 

^ Heimakringla, ii. 56 f. « Id. ii. p. 79. » i^ ii 152, 

462 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xvii. 

if they were not so lucky as to escape. After they 
received Christianity the king took their sons in his 
hands as hostages for their fidehty, ... he summoned 
by message-token the people . , . for the districts 
of Vaage, Loar and Hedal and gave out the message 
along with the token that they must either receive 
Christianity and give their sons as hostages, or see 
their habitations burnt." ^ 
Opposi- In the neighbourhood af Loar lived a chief named 
Gud-^ Gudbrand, a leader of the pagans who were prepared 
brand. ^^ rcsist by forcc the introduction of Christianity into 
their districts. When Olaf advanced towards his 
place Gudbrand sent his son with 700 men to meet 
him, but, a sudden assault having been made by Olaf 's 
men, these were scattered and Gudbrand's son was 
made prisoner. Olaf sent his son back to Gudbrand 
and summoned all to meet him at a Thing. The 
assembly met on a very wet day and Gudbrand then 
proposed as a test of the power of the Christians' God 
that He should intervene on their behalf and cause 
the next day to be cloudy but without rain. In the 
evening Olaf asked Gudbrand's son what their god 
was like. He replied that " he bore the likeness of 
Thor, had a hammer in his hand, was of great size, 
but hollow within, and had a high stand upon which 
he stood when he was out. ' Neither gold nor silver,' 
he said, ' are wanting above him and every day he 
receives four cakes of bread besides meat.' " ^ That 
night the king " watched all night in prayer." The 
weather next day proved to be what Gudbrand had 
desired and at the Thing which met that day and at 

I Heimskringla, ii. p. 153 f. ^ jj. p. 158. 


which Olaf was present the bishop (Sigurd) stood up in Speech by 
his choir robes, with bishop's mitre upon his head and sigurd. 
bishop's staff in his hands. He spoke to the Bonders 
of the true faith, " told the many wonderful acts of God 
and concluded his speech well." To this speech one 
of the leaders of the pagans replied, " Many things we 
are told of by this horned^ man with the staff in his 
hand crooked at the top like a ram's horn, but since 
ye say that your God is so powerful . . . tell Him to 
make it clear sunshine to-morrow forenoon and then 
we shall meet here again and do one of two things, 
either agree with you about this business or fight 
you." 2 

That night also King Olaf spent in prayer " be- 
seeching God of His goodness and mercy to release 
him from evil." But before withdrawing for prayer 
he gave orders that holes should be bored in the ships 
of the Bonders and that their horses should be let 
loose. After hearing mass in the morning the king 
went to the Thing accompanied by a chief named 
Kolbein-the-strong who carried with him a great 
club. When the Thing was assembled " they saw a 
great crowd coming along and bearing among them 
a huge man's image glancing with gold and silver." 
As it approached, the king whispered to Kolbein, " If Destmc- 
it come so in the course of my speech that the Bonders imrge^of"^ 
look another way than towards their idol, strike him^*'^ 
as hard as thou canst with thy club." The king then 
stood up and spoke thus to Gudbrand : " Much hast 
thou talked to us this morning, and greatly hast 
thou wondered that thou canst not see our God, but 

^ The allusion is to the bishop's mitre. ^ Heimskringla, ii. p. 158. 

464 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xvii. 

we expect that He will soon come to us. Thou would'st 
frighten us with thy god, who is both Wind and deaf 
and can neither save himself nor others, and cannot 
even move about without being carried : but now I 
expect it will be a short time before he meets his fate, 
for turn your eyes towards the east, behold our God 
advancing in great light." As the people turned to 
look at the rising sun Kolbein struck the idol with 
such violence that it burst asunder and " there ran 
out of it mice as big almost as cats, and reptiles and 
adders." The Bonders, awestruck and frightened, 
ran for their ships and horses in order to flee from the 
scene, only to find that the first had been sunk and 
that the latter had run away, whereupon they returned 
to the spot where the Thing had assembled. When 
they had seated themselves again the king addressed 
them once more and said : '' Ye see yourselves what 
your god can do . . . take now your gold and ornaments 
that are lying strewed about on the grass and give them 
to your wives and daughters, but never hang them 
hereafter upon stock or stone. Here are now two 
conditions between us to choose, either accept Christ- 
ianity or fight this very day, and the victory be to them 
to whom the God we worship gives it." ^ Gudbrand 
confessed that the inability of their god to help them 
had been demonstrated, and the chronicler continues : 
"All re- "All received Christianity: the bishop baptized 
Christi- Gudbrand and his son : King Olaf and Bishop Sigurd 
anity." j^j^ behind them teachers : they who met as enemies 
parted as friends, and Gudbrand built a church in the 
valley." ^ Similar scenes were enacted in one district 

^ Heimskringla, ii. p. 160. ^ Id. ii. p. 160. 


after another, as Olaf progressed from place to place, 
accompanied by Christian bishops. After referring to 
a battle which he fought with the people of Raumarige, 
the chronicler writes : " They were forced by this 
battle into a better disposition and immediately re- 
ceived Christianity, and the king scoured the whole 
district and did not leave it until all the people were 
made Christians. He then went east to Soloer and 
baptized that neighbourhood." ^ 

It is doubtful whether the forcible conversion of a 
people to Christianity was ever carried out as com- 
pletely and methodically in any other country as it 
was in Norway during the reign of Olaf. 

The collapse of paganism, however, and the willing- The coi- 
ness on the part of the people as a whole to accept pTgan^sm 
Christianity cannot be explained entirely by the fact 
that physical force was employed to hasten their con- 
version. They were partly due to the fact that there 
was no regular priesthood to defend idolatry or to 
organize opposition to the king. The priestly offices 
at the three annual festivals were performed by the 
heads of famihes or by the chiefs of the district. When 
therefore a chief allowed himself to be baptized it 
was natural that his people should follow his example, 
and if the chief of a district allowed the temple which 
was under his charge to be destroyed, there was no 
place left in which the worship of the heathen gods 
could take place. In Norway, to a greater extent 
than in any other European country, the sites or the 
buildings of heathen temples became the sites or 
buildings of Christian churches. 

^ Heimskringlaf ii. p. 161. 
2 G 

466 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xvii. 

The two The Icelandic monk Odd comparing the work ac- 
^^^^'- compHshed by Olaf Tryggvason and Olaf Haraldson, 
says, " Olaf Tryggvason prepared and laid the founda- 
tion of Christianity, but St. Olaf built the walls ; 
Olaf Tryggvason planted the vineyard, but St. Olaf 
trained up the vine covered with fair flowers and much 
Olaf Har- As soon as Olaf had succeeded in estabhshing Christ- 
w"" ' ianity as the national reUgion he summoned an assembly 
at which a code of laws was drawn up known as Olaf 's 
Kristenret which was apparently the joint work of 
Olaf and Bishop Grimkil.^ The law which related 
to the observance of heathen customs is of special 
interest from a missionary standpoint. It made no 
attempt to suppress the social customs connected 
with heathenism, but endeavoured to associate them 
with the observance of Christian customs. It directed 
that wherever three famihes could meet together and 
have a common feast the custom of drinking beer was 
to be observed, the beer having first been blessed " in 
honour of Christ and the Blessed Virgin for good years 
and peace." Fines were imposed in case of a breach 
of this law.2 A step towards the abolition of slavery 
was made by the law which provided that, instead of 
offering a slave as a sacrifice at the meeting of a Thing 
one slave should be set free, and that one should be 
liberated every Christmas. 
Mission- At some time during the archbishopric of Unwan 
Btmen " of Bremen (1013 to 1029) Olaf appUed for additional 

1 The original code has not been embodies the code as promulgated 

preserved, but the form which is by Olaf. 

extant and which dates from about ^ gee Hist, of the Church and State 

the middle of the twelfth century in Norway, Willson, p. 73. 


missionaries. His reason for seeking to obtain theni 
from Bremen rather than from England was probably 
that Canute who was his enemy was then in England. 
Adam of Bremen writes : "He (Olaf ) sent also am- 
bassadors to our archbishop with gifts praying that he 
would receive these bishops kindly and would send 
some of his own bishops to him, who should strengthen 
and confirm the rude Norwegians in the faith." We 
do not know whether this request was complied with, 
but apparently soon afterwards Olaf was himself a 
fugitive from Norway. 

The first missionaries to Norway who came either 
from England or Germany to work under the bishops 
whom the two Olafs introduced were foreigners and 
would not have known the language of the people. 
The next generation of clergy were natives of the 
country who had been trained by them, and until 
1100, when monasteries began to spread, these were 
probably men with very slender education. Later 
on there came a great improvement in the education 
of the clergy. Adam of Bremen, contrasting the The 
condition of the people of Norway with its state in christian 
the old Viking days, writes, "After they received ^®^^^^^s- 
Christianity, being imbued with fuller knowledge, 
they have now learned to love peace and truth and to 
be content in their poverty . . . and although they 
had from the beginning all been enslaved by the evil 
arts of wizards, now with the apostle they in simplicity 
confess Christ and Him crucified. ... In many places 
in Norway and Sweden those who tend the flocks are 
men even of the most noble rank, who, after the manner 
of the patriarchs, live by the work of their hands. 

468 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xvii. 

But all who dwell in Norway are altogether Christian 
{Christianissimi) with the exception of those who are 
far off beside the seas of the Arctic regions." ^ 
Canute In 1026 Canute king of England and Denmark con- 
NorTa^y! qucred Norway, and Olaf fled to Sweden and afterwards 
^^^^' to Russia, where he was hospitably received by King 
Yaroslav,^ who offered him the kingdom of Kazan 
to the east of the Volga, the inhabitants of which were 
heathen. Having been directed, however, as he be- 
lieved in a vision to return to' Norway, he refused the 
offer and set out to return. After reaching Norway he 
was joined by many of his former subjects and he 
succeeded in mustering an army of 3000 men. On 
making enquiry he found that 900 of these were heathen, 
whereupon he refused to allow any who had not been 
baptized to fight on his behalf. As a result 400 were 
baptized and confirmed and the others returned to 
their homes. Before the battle which ensued the king 
had a white cross painted on the helmets and shields 
of his soldiers and he said, '' When we come into battle 
we shall all have one countersign and field-cry, ' For- 
ward, forward, Christ-man, Cross-man, King's man ! ' " ^ 
He also " took many marks of silver and delivered 
them into the hands of a Bonder, and said, This money 
thou shalt conceal, and afterwards lay out, some to 
churches, some to priests, some to alms-men, as gifts 
for the Ufe and souls of those who fight against us and 
may fall in battle."^ The battle was fiercely con- 
Death of tested, but Olaf, after killing many of his foes was 
bittii^ himself killed, and his forces were dispersed. An 

1030. 1 Descriptio insularum Aquilonis, ^ Heimskringla, ii. p. 295. 

XXX., xxxi. See Migne, P. L. cxlvi. » Id. pp. 309, 328. 

col. 647 f. * Id. p. 313. 


eclipse of the sun which occurred during the cotirse 
of the battle apparently fixes its date as August 31, 
1030.1 After the death of Olaf , Swend, a son of Canute, King^ 
became ruler of Norway, but the severity of his rule 
and the taxes which he imposed soon rendered him 
unpopular, and so complete was the revulsion of feeling 
in favour of Olaf which occurred that he came eventu- 
ally to be regarded as the patron saint of Norway. 
Churches were dedicated to him, not only in Norway but 
in England,^ Ireland and elsewhere. Many miracles too 
were reported as having taken place at his tomb in 
Nidaros.3 In 1035 Magnus the son of Olaf returned 
to Norway, and King Swend retired, without fighting, 
to Denmark where he died in the following year. 
Magnus reigned from 1035 to 1047. During his reign King 
and the reigns of his immediate successors opposition 103^^^' 
to Christianity gradually died out; churches, schools 
and monasteries were built throughout the land and 
the new faith which the majority of the people had been 
forced to adopt began to be understood and to gain an 
influence over their lives. The establishment of the Estabiiah- 
schools and monasteries brought about the substitu- ^hook 
tion of the Roman alphabet for the old runic characters, ^^ttiSg^' 
and an advance in the knowledge of agriculture and of 
other useful arts. It was the influence of Christianity 
which, as Adam of Bremen tells us, caused the 
Norsemen to leave off their piratical expeditions and 
to love peace.^ 

^ The date given in the Heims- ing his tomb, " ubi usque hodie 

kringla is July 29, 1033, but this is pluribus miracuUs et sanitatibus quae 

probably incorrect. per eum fiunt, Dominus ostendere dig- 

* There are three churches in natus est quant i meriti sit in coelis qui 

London dedicated to him (St. Olave). sic glorificatur in terris." Hist, c. 43. 

3 Adam of Bremen writes concern- * De situ Danice, c. 96, 

470 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap. xvii. 

In the establishment of Christianity throughout 
Norway, the monasteries played a part, although a 
less important part, than in many other countries. 

The first monastery in Norway was apparently that 
founded by Canute on the island of Nidarholm (after- 
wards called Munkholm) near Nidaros shortly before 
the defeat and death of Olaf. This was served by 
English Benedictine monks. Other monasteries were 
established by Sigurd Jorsalfarer after his return from 
Palestine, the next monks to arrive after the Bene- 
dictines being Cistercians and Augustinians. The 
Dominican and Franciscan friars arrived in the follow- 
ing century. In 1152 the English Cardinal Nicholas 
Breakspeare, who subsequently became Pope, was 
sent as legate to Norway and as a result of his visit 
Nidaros was chosen as the metropolitan see of Norway 
and the Norwegian Church was brought into close 
touch with the papacy. 



The iron age in Sweden, with which apparently com- worship 
menced the worship of Thor, dates back to about ^^Jodin. 
500 B.C. Later on the hammer, as a divine tool, was 
considered sacred, and with it brides and the bodies 
of the dead were consecrated : men also blessed 
with the sign of the hammer as Christians did with 
the sign of the Cross. ^ The worship of Odin, 
who came to be regarded as the god of wisdom and 
poetry, dates back to about the Christian era and was 
probably introduced from Denmark, or from the south 
Germanic races. As late as the eighth century human Human 
sacrifices were not unknown, and Domald, one of the ^^^^^ ^^^* 
Viking kings, is said to have been offered as a sacrifice 
to the gods by his subjects in the hope of obtaining 
relief from a long period of famine. Another king, 
" Ane the Old," is said to have purchased ten years 
of life by offering a son to Odin every ten years. When 
he reached the age of 110 and was about to sacrifice 
his last son, he was prevented by his subjects from 
doing so, whereupon he died. It was not till the ninth 
century was well advanced that the Christian peoples 
in Europe made an attempt to impart to the inhabitants 
of Sweden a knowledge of a higher faith. Referring 
to the long delay that occurred Bishop Wordsworth 

^ See Grimm's Deutsche Mythologie, p. 180 f. Eng. Tr. 

472 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap, xviii. 

Results of writes, " The neglect of Scandinavia by the papacy 
evangdise ^nd by the Christian Goths, Franks, Angles and Irish, 
nav^f.^ was rewarded by the ravage and rapine of the Viking 
age, the horrible sufferings of many innocent men and 
women, the destruction, especially in the ninth century, 
of many churches, and of many treasures of literature 
and art which we should love to possess. The Viking 
Age continued until the North itself became Christian. 
. . . The neglect of the Scandinavian nations by 
their Christian neighbom's brought disaster upon those 
who neglected them. That sure punishment of neglect 
of duty and opportunity falls upon nations and Churches 
as well as individuals, is one of the laws of God's 
kingdom." ^ 
introduc- In 829 ambassadors from Sweden who had come to 
Chrisd- the court of the emperor on political business, sug- 
anity,829. g^g^^^ to him that many of their countrymen were 
favourably disposed towards Christianity and would 
gladly welcome Christian missionaries, if such could 
be sent to them. Christian merchants who had visited 
Sweden had in fact already sown the seeds of Christian 
knowledge, and Swedish merchants who had visited 
Dorstede (Doerstadt) had carried back to their fellow- 
countrymen further information in regard to the teach- 
ings of Christianity. Moreover some of the many slaves 
whom the Swedes had captured during their raids in 
Christian countries had taught their captors what they 
themselves knew concerning its doctrines, and thus 
had prepared the way for the reception of a Christian 
mission. Anskar,^ on the invitation of the emperor, 

1 The National Church of Sweden, Bp. J. Wordsworth, pp. 30 f . 

^ For reference to the earlier missionary activities of Anskar see above, p. 438. 


gladly undertook to go as a missionary to Sweden, Anskar 
and having entrusted his work in Denmark to a monk Sweden. 
named Gislema, he embarked on a vessel saiUng for 
Sweden accompanied by a monk named Witmar from 
New Corbie and carrying with him presents sent by 
the Emperor to the king of Sweden. His ship was 
attacked by pirates and the missionaries lost almost 
everything that they possessed. Their loss included 
forty books. They eventually arrived at Birka^ on 
Lake Malar near Sigtuna the ancient capital, where 
the king, Biorn, gave them permission to preach and 
to baptize all who were wdUing to become Christians. 
Their first congregation of Christians included a 
number of slaves who had been carried captive from 
their own lands. One of their first converts, however, 
was a man of rank^ and a counsellor of the king, 
named Herigar, who built a church on his own estate. Herigar. 
After spending a year and a half in Sweden Anskar 
returned in 831 and reported to the Emperor the work 
that had been accomplished and the encouraging 
prospect which had developed. 

In order to promote the extension of Christian 
Missions in the countries which lay to the north of 
Germany, Louis determined to carry out a design 
formed by his father and to make Hamburg an archi- 
episcopal see and a centre for missionary operations 
in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Anskar was Anskar 
accordingly consecrated as archbishop of Hamburg ^ arch-™^^ 
by Bishop Drogo of Mainz and shortly afterwards ^^^^^* 

^ The modern Biorko. and Bremen were united. The resi- 

^ " Prgefectus vici ipsiua et con- dence of the archbishop was then 

siliarius regis." Vita Anscharii, 17. fixed at Bremen. See below, p. 477. 
^ In 864 the two sees of Hamburg 





His ex- 


paid a visit to Rome. On this occasion he received 
from Gregory IV the pall and a definite charge which 
was given to him and Archbishop Ebo of Rheims to 
preach the Gospel to the northern nations.^ On his 
return from Rome he handed over the charge of the 
Swedish mission to Ebo's nephew Gautbert, who was 
consecrated as his coadjutor bishop, and at his con- 
secration received the name of Simon. 

The new bishop received a hearty welcome from 
King Biorn and soon afterwards laid the foundation 
of a church at Sigtuna. He continued his missionary 
labours for about ten years, but in 845 a rising of the 
heathen against the Christians occurred and he was 
attacked, deprived of all that he possessed and driven 
out of the country. His nephew Nithard was murdered 
at the same time. 
Story of a Auskar's biographer tells a story relating to this 
book. ^^ time, which reminds us of what befell the Philistines 
during the sojourn of the Israelitish Ark in their midst, 
and at the same time illustrates the difficulty which 
the heathen found to distinguish between the character 
of the God of the Christians and that of their heathen 
deities. After the expulsion of Gautbert one of the 
heathen carried home a book belonging to the Christians. 
Soon afterwards he and his wife, his son and his daughter, 
died. His father finding that his property was rapidly 
diminishing, consulted a soothsayer and asked which 
of the gods he had offended. The soothsayer replied 
that he had not offended any of the gods of the country 

^ Vita, 20. The Pope at the same 
time added his curse upon any who 
should reject his preaching, " quoHbet 
modo his Sanctis studiis piisimi im- 

peratoris insidiantem anathematis 
mucrone percussit at que perpetua 
ultione rerum diabolica sorte 


but that he had offended the God of the Christians 
and that '' Christ " was the cause of his loss. He 
further suggested that there was something hidden 
in his house that had been dedicated to the service of 
Christ, and that he could not be delivered from his 
calamities as long as it remained in his house. Eager 
to avert complete ruin he called together his fellow- 
townsmen and, having explained to them what had 
happened, asked for their help. As no one was willing 
to receive the sacred book into his house, he covered 
it up and fastened it to a stake which he fixed in the 
public road, with a notice to the effect that anyone 
who wished might take it and that for the crime which 
he had committed against " the Lord Jesus Christ " 
he was willing to offer any satisfaction that might be 
asked. Eventually the book was removed by a 
Christian, and the man's fears were appeased.^ 

After the expulsion of King Harald from Denmark King 
and the accession of King Horick, who was strongly ^"^p^ges 
opposed to Christianity, missionary work in that ^^®^^p^^^^ 
country was for the time being interrupted. When, ^ni^y- 
however, Anskar was established at Hamburg he 
began to purchase Danish, Norman and Slavonian 
boys, some of whom he retained with him, whilst he 
sent others to be educated at the monastery of Turholt 
between Bruges and Ypres. This monastery had 
been given him by the emperor as a source of revenue 
wherewith to maintain his missionary enterprises. 
He hoped that amongst these youths he niight find 
those who would become missionaries to their fellow- 
countrymen. His work at Hamburg was however 

1 Vita, c. 24. 


rudely interrupted. The Emperor Louis died in 840 
and in 846 Eric king of Jutland at the head of an army 
Destruc- of Northmen sacked and burned Hamburg and de- 
Hamburg, stroyed all Christian churches and other buildings both 
^^^' in Hamburg and in the surrounding district. A 
Christian library containing many books perished in 
the flames. Accompanied by a few clergy and scholars 
he wandered about for some time and at length found 
refuge on the estate of a noble lady called Ikia at 
Rameshoe (Ramsola) in the district of Holstein. From 
this place as a centre Anskar travelled for several years 
through his wasted diocese, in which the devastation 
wrought by the Northmen was such that the total 
number of churches was reduced to four.^ 

But although the missionary work had received a 
serious set-back, good work had been accomplished 
Arch- which was afterwards to bear fruit. Archbishop Ebo, 
Ebo!*^ by whom Anskar was originally sent out as a missionary, 
said to him before his death : "I am assured that 
what we have begun to do on behalf of the name of 
Christ will bring forth fruit in the Lord, for it is my 
firm and settled belief, and I know assiu-edly, that 
although what we have undertaken to do among those 
nations meets for a time hindrances on account of our 
sins, yet it will not everywhere be altogether lost, but 
will thrive more and more by the grace of God, and 
will prosper till the name of the Lord extends to the 
extreme boundaries of the earth." ^ 

In August 845, soon after the destruction of Hamburg, 
Bishop Leuderich of Bremen died and the German 

^ " Non nisi quattuor baptismales cursionibus devastata." Vita, c. 
habebat ecclesias dioecesis, et haec 22. 
ipsa multoties jam barbarorum in- ^ Vita, c. 56. 


King Louis expressed a desire to appoint Anskar 

to the vacant see. This was eventually accomplished 

in 849. As soon as Anskar became bishop of Bremen 

and obtained the means wherewith to support the 

missionaries whom he wished to send, he despatched 

(in 851) a hermit named Ardgar to Sweden. Ardgar The her- 

received a welcome from Herigar, who induced thCgar, 85i. 

king, the successor of Biorn, to sanction the preaching 

of Christianity. During the seven years that had 

elapsed since the expulsion of Gautbert Herigar had 

consistently maintained his profession of Christianity 

and had tried to influence his countrymen in its favour. 

On one occasion when the town of Birka was attacked 

by Danes and Swedes under the command of Avoundus, 

a king of Sweden who had been expelled from his 

country, the inhabitants consulted their heathen priests 

and offered sacrifices to their gods, but failed to obtain 

any encouraging replies. At this crisis Herigar inter- influence 

1 1 ^f • X- X XT. • i.-rx f 4.1. • exertedby 

vened, and, after pomtmg out the mabuity oi tneir Herigar. 
national gods to come to their assistance, he urged 
that they should make a solemn vow of obedience to 
the God of the Christians, and assured them that if 
they did so He would aid them against their enemies. 
The people accordingly went forth to an open plain 
and solemnly vowed to keep a fast to " the Lord Christ " 
and to give alms if He would liberate them from their 
enemies.^ Their deliverance came about in the 
following way. Whilst his army was waiting for the Attack 
signal to advance, the king, Avoundus, suggested that averted. 
lots should be cast in order to ascertain whether it 

^ Viia, 0. 29. '* Exeuntes sicut ibi liberatione sibi jejunium et eleemo- 
consuetudinis erat, in campum pro synas domino Christo devoverunt." 

478 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap, xviii. 

was the will of the gods that Birka should be destroyed.' 
" There are," he said, "' many great and powerful 
deities there, there also a church was formerly built, 
and even now the worship of Christ is observed by 
many Christians, and He is more powerful than other 
gods, and is ever ready to aid those that put their 
trust in Him. We ought then to inquire whether it 
be the divine will that we attack the place." ^ When 
the lots were cast the auspices were unfavourable for 
the attack and Birka was delivered. After the death 
of Herigar, Ardgar, who pined for the hermit life which 
he had forsaken, returned from Sweden in 852, after 
spending less than two years in that country. On his 
return Anskar tried to induce Gautbert to resume his 
former work in Sweden and when he refused he himself 
Anskar sct out for Birka. He arrived in 853 at a time when the 
s^Jeden. fcclings of the people had been greatly excited against 
Christianity and in favour of their national reUgion, 
but, nothing daunted by their hostility, he asked 
King Olaf to a banquet and, after presenting him 
with gifts which he had brought from King Horick, 
invited him to declare himself in favour of the Christian 
A national religion. The king replied that an assembly of the 
assem y. p^^pj^ must be Called and that their gods must be 
consulted by casting lots in order to ascertain what 
ought to be done. 

When the lots were cast the answer obtained was 
favourable to the request which the missionaries had 
made. A proposal was accordingly put before the 
assembly that Christianity should be accepted as the 
religion of the country. While discussion was pro- 

1 Vita, c, 30. 


ceeding and it seemed uncertain what the vote of the 
assembly would be an old man stood forward and said : 
" Hear me O king and people : concerning the worship 
of this God it is already known to many of us that He 
can be of great help to those who hope in Him, for 
many of us have had experience of this in dangers at 
sea and in manifold straits. Why then should we 
spurn what is necessary and useful to us ? Once 
several of us, perceiving that this form of religion 
would profit us, travelled to Dorstede, and there em- 
braced it uninvited. . . . Why then should we not 
embrace what we once felt constrained to seek in 
distant parts, now that it is offered at our doors ? . . . 
Now that we cannot secure the favour of our own gods, 
surely it is a good thing to enjoy the favour of this God 
who, always and at all times, can and will aid those 
that call upon Him." ^ 

The resolution in favour of acknowledging the its ac- 
Christians' God which the assembly subsequently ledgment 
passed bound only the inhabitants of Gothenland, qy^^^_ 
but similar resolutions were subsequently passed in*|^^^' 
other parts of Sweden. After leaving a companion 
named Erimbert to superintend the Mission Anskar Erimbert. 
returned to Hamburg in 854. He died at Bremen ^ 
in 865. 

For seventy years after the death of Anskar hardly 
anything was done to extend missionary work through- 
out Sweden. Rimbert his successor and biographer Rimbert. 
during the twenty years of his episcopate (865-888) paid 
several visits both to Sweden and Denmark, but the 
political conditions which prevailed rendered mis- 

1 Vita, c. 48. 2 See above, p. 440. 


480 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap, xviii. 

sionary enterprise difficult. In his efforts to ransom 
Christians who had been carried captive by pagans 
from the north he parted with the gold and silver 

Unni. vessels belonging to his church. Unni, a successor 
of Rimbert, visited Sweden on more than one occasion 
and died at Birka in 936. His successor Adaldag 

Odinkar. ordained as bishop a Dane named Odinkar for Sweden, 
but it is doubtful whether the work of the latter ex- 
tended beyond Birka. 

KingOiof. The first Christian king of Sweden was Olof 
Skotkonung usually called the Lap-king, who reigned 
from 993 to 1024. According to Swedish tradition 

Bishop he was baptized by Bishop Sigfrid at the well of Husaby 
near Skara in 1008. Sigfrid was almost certainly an 
Englishman^ and is probably to be identified with 
Sigurd who was associated with Olaf Tryggvason.^ 

According to Adam of Bremen he " preached alike 
to Swedes and Northmen." ^ He apparently acted 
also as a missionary in the district of Verend in Smaland, 
where he is venerated as the founder of the Church 
in Wexio. 

The In regard to the establishment of Christianity in 

West Got- West Gotland we have a definite and trustworthy state- 

^^ ' ment by Adam of Bremen. He writes : " Olaf is said 
to have been eminent in Sweden for a like love of 
religion. In his desire to convert his subjects to 
Christianity, he laboured with great zeal to effect the 
destruction of the idol temple which is in the middle 
of Sweden at Ubsola. The heathen, fearing his in- 
tention, are said to have passed a statute (placitum) 

^ A late tradition represents him worth, p. 72 f. 
as archdeacon of York. ^ Adam Brem. c. 242. Migne, P. L. 

2 See The N. Gh. of Sweden^ Words- cxlvi. col. 651. 


together with their king that if he wished to be a 
Christian he should hold as his own the best district 
of Sweden, wherever he desired to live, and might 
there estabUsh a Church and Christianity, but should 
not use force to raake any of the people give up the 
worship of the gods, and only admit such as wished of 
their own free will to be converted to Christ. The king, 
gladly accepting this statute, soon founded a church 
to God and a bishop's seat in West Gotland, which 
is close to the Danes or Norwegians. This is the great 
city of Skara, for which, on the petition of the most 
Christian king Olaf , Thurgot was first ordained by Bishop 
Archbishop Unwan (1013-1029). He vigorously dis- JJi^g"^^*' 
charged his mission among the Gentiles and by his 
labour gained to Christ the two noble peoples of 
the Goths." ^ 

During the reign of his successor Anund Jakob, Spread 
Christianity spread throughout a large part of Sweden ^ tianity^ 
and in 1030 Gotescalk was consecrated by the Arch- ^ut'"''^^" 
bishop of Bremen as the second bishop of Skara. Sweden. 
Archbishop Adalbert of Bremen (1045-1072) conse- 
crated five bishops for Sweden, including John the 
monk bishop of Birka,^ the latter being the first monk 
who is referred to as having worked in Sweden since 
the time of Anskar. One of these bishops Adalward Bishop 
the younger made many converts in the city of Sigtuna 
and its neighbourhood and tried to destroy idolatry 
at Upsala.* Another named Simon or Stenfi preached 
to the Scritefinni, or Skating Finns, or Lapps, in the a mission 
far north, who, according to Adam of Bremen, could Lapps. 

^ Adam Brem. c. 94. Migne, P. L. ^ Id. c. 206. 

cxlvi. col. 541. 4 i(j (J 237. 

2 Adam Brem. c. 107. 
2 H 


outrace on their snow-shoes the wild beasts of the 
country.^ He is venerated as St. Staffan. Stenkil, 
who became king in 1066, was urged by the bishops 
to use force in order to spread the Christian faith and 
eradicate idolatry, but to this request he refused to 
King Inge, accede.^ His son Inge, who succeeded him in 1080, 

1080 . . 

lacked the wisdom of his father, and having abolished 

the heathen sacrifices in Svithiod and having ordered 

all the inhabitants to be baptized, was pelted with 

stones and obliged for a time to abdicate his throne. 

This use of force to compel the acceptance of baptism 

The con- stauds almost by itself in Swedish history. The 

Smaiand. forcible convcrsiou of Smaland was the work of a 

Norwegian king Sigurd (1121-1130). After three 

years Inge recovered his throne, but he refrained from 

destroying the temple at Upsala. A later king, 

Upsaia Sverker, laid the foundations of the old Upsala 

1138^ ^^ ' cathedral in 1138 and used in its construction the 

materials of the heathen temple. 

In 1066 a pagan reaction had taken place at Bremen 

which had forced Adalbert to flee, and he had died in 

Bishop 1072. About this time Eskil an Englishman, who 

Soder- was cousecratcd by St. Sigfrid as bishop of Strengnas, 

maniand. ^YeSiOh^dL as a missionary in Sodermanland. When 

Blot-Sven the brother-in-law of King Inge came to 

Strengnas to offer a sacrifice, the bishop is said to have 

prayed to God to grant a sign from heaven and as a 

result of his prayer a storm of thunder, hail, snow and 

rain overwhelmed the assembly and overturned the 

pagan altar, at which the heathen were so enraged 

that they murdered the bishop. His martyrdom is 

1 Adam Brem., c. 232. ^ id. c. 238. 


celebrated on June 1% but the year of his death is 
uncertain. Towards the end of the eleventh century 
three Englishmen in succession became bishops of Three 
Skara, Rodulward, Ricolf and Edward. Another ^shops. 
Englishman, a monk named David, the founder of the 
see of Vesteras in Vestermanland, is said to have been 
martyred in 1082. 

St. Botvid the first native Swedish missionary, who st. 
was baptized in England, also suffered as a martyr ^''*''''^* 
about this time. The town of Botkyrka is named 
after him. 

By about the year 1130, that is 300 years after the 
mission of Anskar, Sweden as a whole had become a 
Christian country. About 1150 the Swedish king 
asked the Pope to give the Swedish people a primate 
and the English Cardinal Breakspeare, who afterwards 
became Pope Adrian IV, was sent to Sweden in com- 
pKance with this request. At the Synod of Linkoping, synod of 
held in 1152, it was decided that the Swedes should 5fnJ;n52. 
pay an annual tax to the Pope. Bishop Wordsworth 
suggests that the absence of any reference to the 
cehbacy of the clergy at this synod was a matter of 
arrangement between the Pope's legate and the Swedish 
bishops, the acceptance of Peter's Pence being the 
price paid for this silence. In 1213 the clergy of 
Sweden were pubUcly married and claimed to have a 
privilege from the Pope for this indulgence.^ 

Monasticism was apparently not introduced intoMonasti- 
Sweden tiU the twelfth century, the fkst Swedish g^X. 
monastery being founded at Alvastra in East Gotland 
in 1143. A year later one was founded at Nydala in 

^ The National Church of Sweden, pp. 109, 114. 

484 THE CONVERSION OF EUROPE [chap, xviii. 

Smaland and within a few years every large district 
in Sweden possessed one or more monasteries. 
The island Christianity was introduced into the island of Gotland 
knd^ early in the tenth century, but nothing is known con- 
cerning its earliest missionaries. Traces of a church 
which may date as far back as 900 have been found 
at Visby in Gotland. 



There is no country other than Russia in which ReKgion 
national and reUgious aspirations have been so com- ti^fin^^" 
pletely identified and the national life of which has ^^^^^^ 
been so inseparably connected with its religion.^ As a 
present-day illustration of this statement we may point 
to the fact that down to the time of the recent Revolu- 
tion all the chief government offices in Petrograd had 
churches or chapels attached in which prayers were 
constantly offered that the blessing of God might rest 
upon the work which was being transacted in them. 
Ever since the time of Vladimir religion has been a 
dominant factor in the evolution of Russian life and 
character, and he who would forecast the future de- 
velopment of Russia must first strive to understand 
and to breathe the spiritual atmosphere in which its 
peoples live. As a step towards the accomplishment 
of this difficult task, he would do well to study care- 
fully the conditions under which the Russians accepted 
the Christian faith and the story of the missionaries 
who first sought to evangelize their country .^ 

^ M. Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu this day it is the cement that holds 

writes, '* The Church is to them (the both together." The Empire of the 

Russians) a part of Russia, first and Tsars and the Eussians, Eng. ed., vol. 

foremost a national institution ... iv. p. 45. 

and not only has it helped to mould a The MetropoHtan of Kiev, in the 

the nation and make Russia, but to course of a letter addressed to the 



Russia re- It was for Russia an event of far-reaching significance 

ceived its 

Christi- that the Christianity which it received came to it from 

ConJtl^ntT^ Constantinople and not from Rome, and the whole 

nopie. subsequent development of religion in Russia has been 

conditioned by this fact. Discussing the advantages 

and disadvantages which accrued therefrom, the French 

historian, M. Rambaud, writes : 

" Without doubt a church language which, thanks 
to Cyril and Methodius, blended with the national 
language and became intelligible to all classes of society, 
and a church that was purely national and did not 
receive the word of command from a stranger chief, 
being altogether independent of the civil powers and 
developing on national lines, these were the untold 
advantages which Byzantine Christianity brought to 

He goes on to point out that over against these ad- 
vantages must be set the fact that in the time of her 
national peril, when attacked and overrun by the 
Mongols, there was no one to raise the Christian powers 
of Europe in her defence, as was the case when Spain 
was attacked by the Moors, or when Hungary was 
attacked by the Turks.^ Regret has sometimes been 

Archbishop of Canterbury in 1888, strength of her people, but also to 

wrote : " I offer you, beloved brother, the fact that our branch of the Holy 

sincere thanks on behalf both of Catholic and Apostolic Church has 

myself and of all the Russians that grown up together with our nation, 

were at Kiev at the celebration of and that the Christian faith has 

the 900th anniversary of the baptism illuminated it through nine long 

of Russia into the Christian faith for centuries of history." 

your loving letter of congratulation. ^ Histoire de la Russie, p. 69. 

. . . Your Grace rightly says that ^ Pope Innocent IV wrote to 

Russia is indebted for her power and David of Galich in Southern Russia 

the position which she holds amongst suggesting a united crusade against 

Christian nations not only to the the Mongols on condition that the 

wisdom of her rulers and the inborn Russian Church should accept the 


expressed that at a critical stage in the development 
of Russian history its people came under the influence 
of the decadent Greek power and of the representa- 
tives of a Church which has been more distinguished 
by its punctilious orthodoxy than by a strenuous 
activity displayed in efforts to ameliorate the con- 
ditions under which its adherents have lived. It is 
impossible to imagine what political and social con- 
ditions would prevail in Russia to-day if Vladimir 
had accepted the overtures of the bishop of Rome, 
and if the subsequent development of the religious 
history of Russia had been influenced by Western 
teachers and Western theology. 

Our chief authority for the story of the introduction The 
of Christianity into Russia ^ is the Russian Chronicle, chronicle. 
the earliest section of which was for a long time believed 
to have been compiled by a monk named Nestor, who 
was born about 1056 and has been called the " Father 
of Russian history." He was an inmate of the 
monastery of Petchersky at Kiev, and, as his editing of 
the Chronicle apparently ended in 1106, this year is 
supposed to have been the date of his death. From 
1116 to 1124 the Chronicle was edited by Silvester, 
abbot of the Viebuditski monastery in Kiev. It was 
subsequently continued by a number of anonymous 
monks .2 

supremacy of the Pope. David Swedes, and is a corruption of part of 

refused but suggested referring the a word (Rothskarlar) meaning rowers 

matter to an ecumenical council. and representing a seafaring race. 

See Mouravieff , History of the Russian ^ Professor Kluchevsky, after a 

Church, Eng. ed., p. 46. full discussion of the available evi- 

^ The name Russia is probably dence{3ee History of RussiaytTanshted 

derived from the Finnish Ruotsi, by C. J. Hogarth, i. pp. 2-28), arrives 

a name given by the Finns to the at the conclusion that the work of 



[chap. XIX. 

ing St. 

The legend that the Apostle Andrew preached at 
Kiev 1 has no historical foundation and is of compara- 
tively late origin. The tradition as recorded by the 
Chronicler has, however, gained so wide a currency 
that it is worth repeating.^ When St. Andrew, the 
Apostle of Scythia, ascending the river Dnieper on his 
way from Sinope to Rome, beheld the heights of 
Kiev, he exclaimed, " See you those hills ? The grace 
of God shall enhghten them. There shall be a great 
city and God shall cause many churches there to be 
built." Then he cUmbed these heights and blessed 
them and set up a cross and prayed to God. 

The first attempts to introduce Christianity into 
any part of Russia date from the time of the Varangian ^ 
prince, Rurik (d. 879), who was himself a Norseman. 

Nestor was so largely re-edited and 
expanded by Silvester that the latter 
ought to be regarded as the author 
of that part of the Chronicle to which 
the name of Nestor has been attached. 
Of this portion of the Chronicle there 
are two versions which differ con- 
siderably from each other : the earlier 
being the recension made by the 
monk Laurentius in 1377, whilst the 
later one, the Ipatievski, was tran- 
scribed about the end of the four- 
teenth century. The Chronicle was 
translated into German by Schlozer 
and published at Gottingen in 5 vols, 
in 1802, and has twice been edited 
and published in French, in 1834, 
and again by M. L. Leger in 1884. 
The Chronicle is of great historical 
value, and although in the sections 
which relate to the introduction of 
Christianity into Russia it is possible 
to detect a few chronological errors, 
there is good reason to believe that 

the greater part of the contents of 
the chronicles are true to history. 

^ The old Russian capital has been 
variously spelt in English as Kiev, 
Kieff, Kief and Kiew, but the first 
of these is nearest to the original. 

^ Chronique dite de Nestor, ed. 
Leger, pp. 5 f. ; Nestor's Annals, 
ed. Schlozer, ii. p. 93. The tradition 
probably originated in the statement 
made by Eusebius that "Andrew 
received Scythia," etXrjx^v 'Av8p4as 
^Kvdiav, Hist. Eccl. iii. 1. 

^ Of the Varangians who during 
the succeeding centuries formed so 
large a section of the mihtary and 
trading classes Kluchevsky writes : 
" All the signs point to the fact that 
these Baltic Varangians . . . were 
Scandinavians and not Slavonic in- 
habitants either of the South Baltic 
seaboard or of what now constitutes 
South Russia." Id. i. p. 58. 

BUS8IA 489 

According to Russian tradition, the first Russians to 
embrace Christianity were Askold and Dir, two princes Askoid 
of Kiev. In a.d. 860 ^ these appeared in two hundred see. 
armed vessels at Constantinople, and threw its in- 
habitants into great alarm, whereupon — ^to quote the 
words of the Russian chronicler — 

" The Emperor, together with the Patriarch Photius, Their re- 
betook themselves to the chm*ch of the Mother of God conrtlM^ 
in Blacherna. Here they spent the whole night in^^^P^® 
prayer, then they took the divine robe of the Mother 
of God from the church with song and lamentation, 
to the edge of the sea and plunged it in the water. 
Up to this time the wind had been still, but now a 
violent storm suddenly arose which stirred up the 
sea, and the ships of the godless Russians were broken 
and thrown on the beach. Only a few escaped mis- 
fortune and returned awestruck to theii homes." ^ 

This tradition is embodied in an anthem in honour of 
the holy Virgin, who is described as a victorious general, 
which is used daily in the Russian liturgy .^ The 
attack made by Askold and Dir is historical, but it is 
doubtful whether there is any substratum of truth 
in their alleged conversion to Christianity. 

In a letter written by the Greek Patriarch Photius state- 
in 866 and directed against the Latin Church he says Photius^ 
that the people called Russians, who had hitherto ^^^• 
been noted for their barbarism and cruelty, had 
abandoned their idolatry, accepted Christianity and 

1 The Chronicler gives the date as Nestor's Annals, Schlozer, ii. pp. 223 f. 
866, but modern Russian historians ^ rrj virepfjidxv o'Tpar'^yij} rk viKrp-'/ipta. 
are agreed that the date given above The hymn concludes the first hour 
is the correct one. See Kluchevsky, in the daily matins of the Greek 
i. p. 20. Church. 

2 Chronique dite de Nestor, p. 16 ; 


allowed a Christian bishop to be placed over them.^ 
This statement of Photius, which is certainly incorrect, 
is based upon the alleged conversion of Askold and 
Dir at Contsantinople. The commercial intercourse 
that existed between Russia and the Greek Empire 
during the ninth and tenth centuries must have 
famiHarized many Russians with Christian teaching 
and customs. 2 Rurik died in 879 after a reign of 
seventeen years and was succeeded by Oleg who acted 
Igor, 941. as the guardian of his young son Igor. He reigned 
for thirty-three years and was succeeded by Igor. In 
941 Igor undertook expeditions against Constantinople 
and devastated the provinces of Pontus, Paphlagonia 
and Bithynia, destroying numerous Christian churches 
and monasteries. In a treaty of peace which he 
eventually concluded with the Greek emperors in 945, 
A church reference is made to the existence of a church of the 
Kiev. Prophet Elias in Kiev. The Chronicler states that the 
Russians who had been baptized before the cross in 
the church of the holy Prophet Elias swore to keep all 
that was contained in the treaty, whilst those who 
were not baptized took an oath on their swords and 
other weapons of war.^ It is interesting to note, as 

^ Photii Epistoloe, xiii. See Migne, let them be punished by Almighty 

P. Gr. cii. col. 735. God ... if any (do so) who are not 

2 Constantine Porph3rrogenitus and baptized let them not receive help 
other Greek annalists relate that in either from God or from Perun. . . . 
the lifetime of Askold a bishop was If any prince or people of Russia 
sent to the Russians by the Emperor violate that which is written on this 
Basil. In Codinus' Ust of sees subject paper let him die by his own weapons 
to the patriarch of Constantinople and let him be cursed by God and 
the metropolitical see of Russia by Perun because he has broken his 
appears as early as 891. oath." Chronique de Nestor, pp. 39, 

3 The words of the Chronicler are, 41. There was also a church dedi- 
" If any Russians who have received cated to the Prophet Elias in Con- 
baptism try to disturb the friendship stantinople. M. L. Leger in his 

IIU88IA 491 

indicating the origin of the principal Russian families 
in Kiev, that of the fifty names appended to this treaty 
only three are Slavonic, whilst the rest are Norse. 

Igor was killed fighting against the Dereviech soon 
after the signing of the treaty, after he had reigned 
for thirty-two years. 

The first account of the introduction of Christianity visit of 
into Russia which is certainly historical dates f rom cinstlnti- 
A.D. 955. In this year 01ga,i the widow of Igor, prince ^^f^' 
of Kiev, who acted as regent during the minority of 
her son Sviatoslav, and who, it appears, had already 
been influenced by Christian teaching, started with a 
numerous retinue for Constantinople, where she em- 
braced the Christian faith and was baptized by the 
Patriarch Polyeuctes by the name of Helena, the 
Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus becoming her 
godfather. On her return to Kiev, accompanied by 
a priest named Gregory, she endeavoured, but without 
success, to induce her son Sviatoslav to accept the Sviatos- 
new faith.2 i^^- 

It was this prince who began the fatal custom of 
breaking up the Russian territory into sections so 
that each of his sons might become an independent 

work. La Mythologie slave (pp. 54- tism of Olga see Karamsin, i. pp. 

76), gives an account of the worship 206-9. 

of Perun, who was regarded as the ^ ^^le Chronicler writes concerning 

god of thunder and storm. By the Olga : "She was the forerunner of 

early Slavonic Christians the attri- Christianity in Russia, as the dawn 

butes ascribed to Perun were trans- is the forerunner of the sun. . . 

ferred to the Prophet Elijah. The As the moon shines at midnight, she 

latter is regarded by Russians, Bui- shone in the midst of a pagan people. 

garians and Slovenes as the saint She was hke a pearl in the midst of 

who presides over thunder, rain and mire, for the people were in the 

wind. mire of their sins and had not yet 

^ For a detailed account of the been purified by baptism." Chro- 

ceremonies connected with the bap- nique de Nesior, c. xxxiv. p. 54. 


ruler. His action paved the way for the invasion of 
Russia by the Mongols, who held it for two centuries 
and left their mark upon all its subsequent history. 

Whilst, however, Olga failed to effect the conversion 
of her son, her efforts to influence her grandson 
Vladimir met with a larger measure of success. Al- 
though Vladimir was destined to be canonized as a 
saint, his character during a considerable part of his 
Accession rcigu left much to be desired. Soon after his accession 
mir, 980. he murdcrcd his brother Yaropolk (980) and seized 
his territories, adding to his own dominions also Galicia 
and parts of Lithuania and Livonia. After he had com- 
mitted many acts of cruelty and debauchery ^ his 
character, or at any rate his religious aspirations, 
underwent a great change. 
His sup- During the early part of his reign he had been a 
Cntm. strenuous supporter of paganism, and had erected 
near his palace at Kiev an image of Perun " with a 
silver head and golden beard," together with images of 
five other gods,^ to which, according to the statement 
of the Chronicler, the people " offered in sacrifice their 
sons and their daughters." To quote the words of 
The Rus- a modern Russian writer — " The chief deity (of Russian 
Perun^ mythology), the angry and jealous Perun, appears 
as a ' centre of crystallization ' for various conceptions 
concerning the creative powers and processes of nature 

^ He had 800 concubines — 300 at writing in the sixth century and 

Vyshegorod, 300 at Bielgorod and Helmhold writing in the twelfth 

200 at Berestovo. Chronique de century state that the Slavs beUeved 

Nestor, p. 65. in the existence of one supreme God 

2 The names given by the Chronicler who did not, however, concern him- 

are Khors, Dajbog, Strybog, Simargl self with human affairs, but their 

and Mokoch. See Chronique de statements do not appear to admit 

Nestor, p. 64 ; Karamsin, i. p. 251. of verification. 
Procopius {De hello Oothico, iii. 14) 


connected with thunder-storms and thunder-showers, 
and even embracing some elements of culture : thus 
vivifying fire could be obtained, according to tradition, 
from the oak tree which was sacred to Perun : oaths 
were tendered in his name, and so on. . . . Even in 
our own times some Russian peasants, for instance in 
the government of Rskof, mention Perun in their 
oaths." ^ The only martyrs of whom record exists. Two 
who suffered during Vladimir's reign (who were after- Theodore 
wards known as Theodore and John), were apparently ^^^ *'^^^^' 
Norsemen. They were put to death by the fury of 
the people, because one of them, from natural affection, 
had refused to give up his son when he had been devoted 
by Vladimir to be offered as a sacrifice to Perun.^ 

In 986, according to the Chronicler,^ envoys who ReUgious 
represented the adherents of four different religions vklt^^ 
or forms of religion came to Vladimir. The first to ^gg^^"^^^' 
arrive, who were Bulgarian Moslems from the neigh- The Mos- 
bourhood of the Volga, said to him, " Wise and prudent ^^^' 
prince as thou art, thou hast no rehgion. Take our 
reUgion and render homage to Mohammed." " What 
is your faith ? " asked Vladimir. They replied that 
they beUeved in God and accepted Mohammed's 
commands to observe circumcision and to abstain 
from pork and wine, and they beheved that after death 
Mohammed would give to every man the choice of a 

1 See art. by Lappo-Danilevsky in Yatvagers, a Finnish tribe, of whose 
Russian Realities and Problems, p. land he took possession. 

157. ' The *' Legend of the Conversion " 

2 Chronique de Nestor, p. 67 ; of Vladimir appears to have been 
Karamsin, i. p. 254 ; MouraviefE, incorporated into the Chronicle from 
p. 355. The occasion referred to an early life of Vladimir. See 
was the celebration of a victory Kluchevsky, pp. 12 f. 

which Vladimir won in 983 over the 


wife amongst seventy beautiful women. This last 
statement, says the Chronicler, attracted Vladimir, 
" for he loved debauchery," but the suggestions in 
regard to circumcision and abstinence from pork and 
wine displeased him. He said, '' We Russians cannot 
live without drinking." 

Romans Ncxt camc representatives from Rome,^ who said, 
" We have been sent by the Pope who has com- 
manded us to say : Your country is like our country, 
but your faith is not like our faith, for our faith is the 
light : we adore God who has made the heaven, the 
earth and the stars, the moon and all creatures, whilst 
your gods are made of wood." '' What are your 
commandments ? " asked Vladimir. They repHed, 
" To fast according to our ability, to eat or drink 
always to the glory of God as our Master Paul said." 
" Begone," said Vladimir, " our ancestors did not 
accept this (commandment)." 

The Jews. Then came Jews who lived amongst the Khozars in 
the Crimea and said to Vladimir, " We have heard that 
Bulgarians and Christians have come to inform you of 
their faith. The Christians believe in Him whom we 
have crucified ; as for us, we believe in one God, the 
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Vladimir asked, 
" What are your observances ? " Their representa- 
tives replied, '^ Circumcision, abstinence from pork and 
hare, and the observance of the sabbath." " Where 
is your country ? " he asked. They replied, " At 
Jerusalem." " Do you live there now ? " he added. 
They answered, " God was angry with our fathers and 

^ The word " niemtsi " {i.e. dumb) but was most commonly applied to 
used by the Chronicler was used by Germans, for whom it is still the 
the Russians of strangers generally, Russian name. 


has scattered us throughout the world for our sins, 
and our country has been given over to the Christians." 
He rephed, " How is it that you teach others, you who 
have been rejected and scattered in strange lands ? 
Do you wish that this evil should conie upon us also ? " 

The representative of yet another f orni of religion a Greek 
appeared at the court of Vladiniir, viz. a philosopher ^p^^er' 
sent by Greeks, who said to him, " We have heard 
that Bulgarians have come to invite you to accept 
their faith, a faith which defiles heaven and earth ; 
they are accursed more than any other nation and 
are like to Sodom and Gomorrah." The description 
which the Greek proceeded to give concerning 
the habits of the Bulgarians caused Vladimir to spit 
on the ground and to say, " This is an abomina- 
tion." The philosopher then continued, " We have 
heard that men have come from Rome to teach you 
their faith : there is no great difference between their 
faith and ours." He then proceeded to explain 
that by withholding the wine from lay communicants 
the Romans had acted contrary to the directions given 
by Christ Himself. Vladimir said, " Jews have come 
and have said to me, ' The Germans and the Greeks 
beheve in Him whom we have crucified.' " The Greek Vladimir's 
philosopher answered that what the Jews said was '^''^^*'''''^' 
true, and that as a punishment for their evil conduct 
God had sent the Romans to destroy their cities and 
to disperse them throughout the world. Vladimir 
asked again, " Why did God descend upon earth, and 
did He endure such a martyrdom ? " In response 
to this inquiry the Greek philosopher gave to Vladimir 
a brief resume of the world's history as narrated in 


the Old Testament and in the Gospels, and having ex- 
plained to him the nature of the Christian faith, he 
went on to describe the future judgment and the pains 
of hell reserved for sinners. He then displayed a 
picture representing the separation of the just and 
the unjust and the entry of the just into paradise.^ 
Vladimir sighed as he beheld the lot of those who were 
placed on the left hand of the judgment-seat, where- 
upon the Greek philosopher said to him, " If you would 
be on the right hand with the just, be baptized." 
Vladimir replied, " I will wait a little, for I desire to 
meditate upon all the faiths." 
A council In the following year (987) Vladimir called a council 
o^^oyar^, ^j j^.^ boyars, and having told them what the repre- 
sentatives of the different religions had said, asked 
their advice. They replied, " If you desire to be en- 
lightened, send some of your men to study the different 
religions and to see how each (race) worships God." 
Dispatch Euvoys wcrc accordingly dispatched, and on their 
envoys. ^^^^^^ they reported their experiences to the boyars. 
Concerning the Moslems in Bulgaria they reported 
that " in their temples they bow and sit down, looking 
about them as though they were possessed, and they 
have no joy, but sadness, and a horrible stench." 
" Their religion," they said, " is not good." Of the 
Germans, that is the Romans, they said, " We have 
seen them perform their service in their church and 
we have seen nothing that is beautiful." On the 

^ Methodius is reported to have universal in Russia to-day, is to be 

effected the conversion of Boris dated back to the introduction of 

(Bogoris), king of Bulgaria, by paint- Christianity into that country. For 

ing a picture of the Last Judgment. an account of the use of ikons in the 

If this tradition be correct the use of seventeenth century see Travels of 

ikons, or sacred pictures, which is Macarius, vol. ii. p. 49. 


other hand words failed to express the impression 
which had been made upon them by their experiences 
in Constantinople. As soon as their arrival became Their visit 
known to the Emperor Basil he sent to the patriarch sunt^ 
saying, '' Russians have come to study our faith, make "^^p^^ 
ready the church and your clergy and put on your 
pontifical robes that they may see the glory of our 
God." The Emperor himself, moreover, escorted 
them to St. Sophia. Of the service at which they 
were present they afterwards reported : " We knew 
not whether we were in heaven or on earth, for there 
is no similar sight upon earth nor is there such beauty. 
We cannot describe it, but we only know that it is 
there ' that God dwells with men.' " Having heard 
their report the boyars said to Vladimir, '' If the Greek 
religion were bad, your grandmother Olga, who was 
wiser than all, would not have received it " ; where- 
upon Vladimir simply replied, " Where then shall we 
receive baptism ? " 

Although the story of the conversion of Vladimir viadimir 
as given by the Chronicler ^ has been idealized, there accept^ ^^ 
is no reason to doubt that it contains historical truth, ^nHy ^ 
and the details supplied by the Chronicler are of 
interest as illustrating the accepted belief of the 
Russian Church concerning the establishment of 
Christianity in their country. 

Now that Vladimir had at length decided to seek 
Christian baptism the question presented itself, where 
and by whom should he be baptized ? The Russian 
historian, Karamsin, writes : 

" It would have been very easy for Vladimir to be 

^ Chronique de Nestor, pp. 69-90. 

2 r 


baptized in his own capital where there had for a long 
time been churches and Christian priests, but this 
magnificent prince desired eclat . . . the Greek 
emperors and patriarchs seemed to him to be alone 
worthy to give to his whole people the dogmas of a 
new religion. On the other hand the proud and mighty 
Vladimir would have to humble himself before the 
Greeks by acknowledging what were in their eyes the 
errors of idolatry and by humbly asking baptism at 
their hands. Accordingly he formed the project of 
conquering, so to speak, the Christian religion and of 
receiving its sacred dogmas as the price of victory." ^ 
He attacks It was apparently with thoughts such as these in 
^^^erson, j^^ mind that in 988 he embarked his numerous army 
and sailed to attack Kherson in the Crimea which 
belonged to the Greek emperors. After he had be- 
sieged it for a long time, but without success, a priest 
in the town named Anastasius shot an arrow into his 
camp to which was attached a letter advising him to 
cut the subterranean canal that supplied Kherson 
with water. On receipt of this letter Vladimir vowed 
that if he captured Kherson he would be baptized. 
He captured it forthwith and thereupon sent to demand 
of the two emperors, Basil and Constantine, the hand 
of their sister Anna in marriage, threatening an attack 
upon Constantinople in the event of his request being 
refused. The princess, whose sister Theophano had 
already become the wife of the German emperor Otto, 
agreed, albeit with great reluctance, to become his 
Baptism wifc, and, accompanied by a body of clergy, sailed 
mir. ^ ^ for Kherson, where the baptism of Vladimir took 

1 Karamsin, i. pp. 264 f. 


place. His baptism was followed immediately by 
that of many of his princes and suite. After building 
a church in Kherson and restoring the city to the Greek 
emperors he returned to Kiev, taking with him the 
relics of St. Clement of Rome and those of his disciple 
Thebas, together with " church vessels and ornaments 
and ikons." On reaching Kiev he caused his twelve 
sons to be baptized and then proceeded to destroy the 
idols which the city contained. The principal idol 
Perun ^ was thrown into the Dnieper. He then issued 
a proclamation commanding his people to assemble 
on the banks of the river Dnieper in order that they 
might receive Christian baptism. His proclamation Baptisms 
stated that " whoever on the morrow does not repair ^* ^^®^' 
to the river to be baptized, whether rich or poor, will 
incur my disfavour." On the morrow there assembled 
an innumerable multitude of the people, together with 
their wives and children, and were baptized by the 
Greek bishops and priests who had come with Vladimir 
to Kiev. The Chronicler writes : 

" Some were up to their necks in the water, others Descrip- 
up to their breasts, the youngest were on the bank, b^pt^maf 
men held their children, the adults were altogether in ^^^^ic^- 
the water and the priests stood and said the prayers, 
and there was joy in heaven and on earth at the sight 
of so many souls who were saved." 

On this occasion the demon of the river was heard 
groaning and bewaiUng his expulsion from the place in 
which he had so long resided. The prayer which the 
Chronicler makes Vladimir utter on this occasion reads :^ 

^ See above, p. 492. For an account Kluchevsky, i. pp. 43 ff. ; also La 
of the religious beliefs and prac- Mythologie Slave, by Louis Leger. 
tices of the Eastern Slavonians see * Chronique. de Nestor, p. 98. 


" God, creator of heaven and earth, look upon this 

Thy new people, and grant them to know Thee as 

the true God, as Thou hast been made known to 

Christian lands. Strengthen and confirm in them the 

true faith ; assist me against the attacks of the enemy, 

and enable me to triumph over his malice, trusting in 

Thee and in Thy Kingdom." 

Erection Vladimir subsequently erected a wooden church 

churches dedicated to St. Basil on the spot on which the idol 

at Kiev. pgj.^j^ j^^(j stood and which adjoined his palace. At 

the same time he sent to Constantinople for builders, 

by whose assistance he erected on the site where the 

two martyrs had died a stone church dedicated to 

the Virgin Mary. 

The majority of the inhabitants of Kiev consented 
to receive baptism, and it should be recorded to the 
credit of Vladimir that he made no attempt to compel 
those who persisted in their heathenism to become 

'' He did not wish," writes Karamsin, " to tyrannize 
over their consciences but adopted the wisest course 
of destroying the errors of idolatry, and appHed himself 
to enlighten the Russians in order to establish the 
bases of religion upon the knowledge of the holy 
Scriptures, which had been translated into Slavonic 
in the ninth century by Cyril and Methodius ^ and 
had doubtless been known for a long time to the 
Christians of Kiev." ^ 
Compui- The only force that he employed was used to compel 
caw""' scholars to attend the schools which he estabUshed. 

1 The oldest MS. of the whole of different recensions dating back 
Bible is dated 1499, but there are to the eleventh century, 
many MSS. of the New Testament ^ Karamsin, i. p. 272. 


In many cases the mothers of these scholars regarded 
the invention of writing as the most dangerous form 
of sorcery and did their best to prevent their sons from 
being bewitched by learning to read or write. When 
they were forced to attend school their mothers 
'' lamented for them as for the dead." ^ 

Christianity having been firmly established in Kiev, 
bishops and clergy, accompanied in some instances by 
Vladimir, visited the cities of Rostoff and Novgorod, christi- 
baptizing and instructing the people, and within four or Novgo^rod 
five years bishoprics had been established in Novgorod, ^^^ ^^®" 
Rostoff, Tzernigov and Bielgorod. In most instances 
no opposition was offered- by the pagans, but at Rostoff 
the first two bishops were driven away, the third, 
Leontius, was murdered, and many years elapsed 
before the inhabitants of this district became nominal 
Christians.^ Before Vladimir died in 1015 the greater 
part of his subjects had become Christians. 

The French historian A. Leroy-Beaulieu, com- Religious 
menting upon the rehgious propagandism of Vladimir, gandism 
writes : ?.^...^^^^^" 

" As pagan feeling was still alive in all its force, and 
the people's soul was thoroughly imbued with it, the 
triumph of the one God was more apparent than real, 
and that for a long time. What Vladimir overthrew 
was the wooden idols with the gilt beards, not the 
ancient conceptions which they represented. The 
old idols convicted of being powerless before the God 
of the Byzantine missionaries were succeeded by the 
Christ and the saints of Christianity. The gospel 
victory, therefore, was easy in proportion as it was 

^ Karamsin, p. 98. ^ history o J Russia, by Kluchevsky, i. pp. 205 f. 



shallow. It quickly took possession of the hills of 
Kiev and the Varangian homes for the very reason 
that it did not take hold of men's souls ; it hardly 
disturbed them or made a change in their ideas. They 
understood Christianity so little that they often 
remained half pagan without knowing it. Such, 
after centuries, still frequently is the mujik^s 
religion." ^ 

Karamsin, referring to the influence which the 
Christian faith exercised upon Vladimir, writes : 
Character " This princc whom the Church acknowledged as 
mir. ^ ' equal with the apostles (Isapostolos) ' has merited 
in history the name of ' great.' To God alone, and not 
to men, it appertains to know whether Vladimir became 
a Christian as the result of personal conviction of the 
holiness of evangelical morality or whether he was 
only influenced by the ambitious desire to become the 
relation and ally of the Greek emperors. It is sufficient 
(for us to know) that after having embraced the divine 
religion, Vladimir was, so to speak, sanctified by it 
and that he became entirely different from that which 
he had been when paganism enveloped him in its dark- 
ness. . . . Without doubt his chief title to immortality 
is that he set the Russians on the path of true religion, 
but his prudence in administration and his brilliant 
deeds of arms have equally merited for him the title 
of great." ^ 
Kiev. Before the death of Vladimir, Kiev had become 

a centre of Christian influence and, if we may believe 
Thietmar, who was a contemporary of Vladimir, it 

1 The Empire of the Tsars and the Eng. ed. pp. 28 f. 
Russians, by Anatole Leroy- Beau lieu, ^ Karamsin, i. pp. 286 f. 

BUSS I A 503 

contained no less than four hundred Christian 

In trying to form any impression of the condition slavery in 
of Russia at the time when Christianity began to spread ^''^^'** 
throughout its territory, it is necessary to remember 
how large an element of the population the slave class 
constituted at that time. Kluchevsky writes : " The 
economic prosperity of Kievan Rus depended for its 
maintenance upon slavery — a system which towards 
the close of the twelfth century attained im- 
mense proportions. For three centuries the slave 
constituted the principal article of export to the 
markets of the Volga, the Black Sea and the Caspian, 
with the result that the Russian merchant came to be 
known first and foremost as a slave-dealer.^ The 
introduction of Christianity did much to ameliorate 
the condition of the slaves and to secure them against 
arbitrary punishments inflicted by their masters. 

Yaroslav, one of the princes who eventually sue- Yarosiav. 
ceeded him, strove to promote the spread of Christ- 
ianity by building churches and monasteries and by 
placing clergy in his principal towns in order to in- 
struct their inhabitants. The Chronicler tells us that 
he caused the Scriptures to be translated from Greek a Slavonic 
into Slavonic, and that he himself read them by day^'^^®' 

^ Thietmar writes : "In magna the Russian chroniclers 700 churches 

hac civitate (Kiev) quae istius regni and chapels were destroyed by a fire 

caput est plus quam quadringenta which occurred in 1124, but probably 

habentur ecclesiae et mercatus octo." this reckoning and that of Thietmar 

Adam Bremensis {Chron. vii. p. 16) are exaggerations. See Mouravieff, 

WTites: " Ostrogard Ruzziae cujus p. 364. As a place of pilgrimage 

metropolis civitas est Chive (Kiev) Kiev ranks perhaps first in Christen- 

aemula sceptri ConstantinopoUtani, dom, the number of pilgrims in one 

clarissimum decus Grecise (Russiae)." year often reaching a million. 
Hist. Eccles. ii. p. 13. According to 2 Jll^^ ^j j^ ^^j iii. p. 185. 


and by night and transcribed them many times with 

his own hand. He also placed a copy of them in the 

church of St. Sophia in Kiev for the use of the people.^ 

In 1044 he ordered the bones of Oleg and Yaropolk, 

brothers of Vladimir who had died as heathen, to be 

Schooisfoi disinterred, and to be baptized.^ He prepared the 

ingof way for establishing an independent Russian church 

priests, i^y opening schools for training youths, who might 

eventually become priests, at Kiev and Novgorod : 

the church which he built at Kiev, dedicated to 

St. Sophia, still exists.^ 

Of the Russian rulers who helped to raise the ideals 

of his subjects and to show them how the profession 

of Christianity should influence their life and conduct 

Vladimir noue is morc deserving of mention than Vladimir the 

Second (d. 1126), the grandson of Yaroslav and the 

husband of Gytha, who was a daughter of our English 

king Harold. We may venture to believe that he owed 

to his English wife part at least of the religious in- 

His dying fluence which dominated his life. His dying injunc- 

twns^. tions to his sons afford evidence that the true meaning 

of the religion which by this time had become the 

nominal faith of a large part of Russia was beginning 

to be understood. A few sentences will enable the 

reader to appreciate their general trend. 

" O my children, praise God . . . and shed tears 
over your sins . . . both in the church and when you 
lie down. Do not fail a single night to bend at least 

1 Karamsin, ii. p. 30 ; Chronique Mstislav, the next oldest being that 
de Nestor, pp. 128 f. of St. Sophia, at Kiev, and another 

2 Id. p. 131. also dedicated to St. Sophia at Nov- 

3 The oldest existing Russian gorod founded by Vladimir, a son of 
church is the cathedral of St. Saviour, Yaroslav. 

founded at Tzernigov by Prince 


three times to the ground. . . . And when you go for 
a ride, if you have nothing to engage your attention 
and know no other prayer, repeat secretly and without 
ceasing, ' Lord, have pity,' for this is the best of all 
prayers. And (to do) this is much better than to think 
of evil things. . . . When you tell anything whether 
good or evil do not swear by God ... if you kiss the 
cross to make an oath to your brother, or to anyone 
else, probe well your heart to see if you are prepared 
to keep your oath, then kiss it and beware lest you 
lose your soul by failing to keep your oath. Be not 
proud in your heart or thought, but say, ' We are 
mortal, to-day we live, to-morrow we are in the 
tomb.' ... Do not hide your treasure in the ground : 
to do so is a great sin. . . . Avoid lying, drunkenness 
and debauchery, for these destroy body and soul. . . . 
Visit the sick, escort the dead, for we are all mortal. 
Do not pass in front of a man without saluting him and 
giving him a good word. Love your wives, but do 
not let them have power over you. Finally, that 
which is above all, have the fear of God. . . . Idleness 
is the mother of all the vices. . . . Let not the sun 
find you in bed ... as soon as you see the sun rise, 
praise God and say with joy, ' Open my eyes, Lord 
Jesus, Who hast given me Thy beautiful light.' " ^ 

The author of this testament did not regard a some- 
what fierce treatment of his enemies as inconsistent 
with the due performance of his religious duties, as 
he continues : 

" I have made eighty -three campaigns. ... I have 
set free the chief princes of the Polovtsi . . . and 

^ Chronique de Nestor, pp. 243-57. 


a hundred others. And other princes whom* God has 

deKvered ahve into my power ... I massacred them 

and threw them into the river Slavha. ... I have 

killed up to this time two hundred important 

prisoners." ^ 

Character The character of Vladimir II was a strange mixture 

mirii. of devotion and of barbarism, nevertheless it compares 

favourably with that of many of his predecessors, 

and at least some of his contemporaries in other 

countries. The religion which he professed was a real 

factor in the making of the man, and his ideals of 

conduct and action would have been much worse than 

they were had the uplifting and restraining influence 

of his imperfect Christianity been absent. 

The Pet- The monastery {Lavra) of Petchersky at Kiev, of 

monas- which the Chronicler Nestor eventually became an 

k[Jv^ inmate, was founded in 1010 by a hermit named Antony, 

who, after spending some time in the Greek monastery 

on Mount Athos, took up his abode in a cavern near 

Kiev. He was presently joined by twelve monks 

who began by digging out a subterranean church and 

subterranean cells for their accommodation.^ When 

their number still further increased they built a large 

church to serve the monastery of which Vaarlam and 

Theodosius became the first abbots, Antony having 

refused to accept the honour. A few years later 

King Yaroslav founded two other monasteries at 

Kiev, one for men called after his own angel St. 

1 Ghronique de Nestor, pp. 243-57. by the Tartars in 1240, and was 

2 Lavra, which is appUed to mon- burnt down in 1718. It was again 
asteries of the first rank, is equivalent rebuilt and reconsecrated in 1729. 
to caves. This famous monastery See Karamsin, ii. pp. 109-11 ; 
was destroyed in 1096 by Doniak, Mouravieff, pp. 22 ft., 361. 

the Khan of the Polovtsi, and again 


George and one for women which was called after 
St. Irene, the angel of his consort.^ The Chronicler, 
referring to the foundation of the Petchersky monastery, 
writes : 

"Many monasteries have been founded by princes 
and nobles and by wealth, but they are not such as 
those which have been founded by tears and fasting 
and prayer and vigil. Antony had neither gold 
nor silver, but he procured all by prayer and 
fasting." 2 

This monastery became a centre of religious life and a centre 
of religious training from which went forth many mis- sLnlTy 
sionaries to the heathen as well as the founders of the ^^^i^i^y- 
many other monasteries which began to spread over 
northern Russia. Thus Mouravieff writes : 

" The names of Antony and Theodosius began to Antony 
be invoked in prayer from the time of the reign oid^siuJH^^' 
Sviatopolk as . . . the fathers of all who lived a life 
of religious retirement in our country, for the lavra 
shot its roots deep into the soul of Russia. It gave 
its monks to the Church. . . . Some of them preached 
the name of Christ to the heathen and died the death 
of martyrs, as Gerasimus, the first illuminator of the 
savage Vess in the northern quarters, as Kouksha and 
Pimen who suffered for the word of God on the banks 
of the Oka while engaged in the conversion of the 
Viatichi. Others, whose names are too many to be 

^ "His angel" or "her angel" over every baptized person in the 

is the customary phrase in the Church, whom they caU the guardian 

Russian language to designate the angel, without confounding him with 

patron saint after whom anyone is the angel or saint from whom they 

named. At the same time the have their Christian name. Moura- 

Russians have also the belief that vieff, p. 361. 

an angel, properly so called, is set « Chronique de Nestor, p. 135. 


reckoned . . . supplied examples in their seclusion 
of the practice of all the virtues." ^ 
Ideals of In coursc of time, as Russia became nominally 
monks. Christian, and their role as centres of missionary 
activity was accomplished, the monks gave themselves 
up more and more to a life of contemplation and the 
practice of asceticism. Referring to the ideals of 
the Russian monks generally Leroy-Beaulieu writes : 
" It was neither the need of organizing for the struggles 
of life nor zeal for the saving of souls — ^it was the love 
of seclusion, renunciation of the world and its strife 
which filled the Russian monasteries. . . . The Russian 
monks' object was neither intellectual work nor manual 
labour, neither charity nor proselytism, but merely 
personal salvation and atonement for the sins of the 
world." 2 There are and have been many monks 
and many monasteries to whom this statement would 
not apply, but the criticism is justified by the history 
of Russian monasteries taken as a whole. 
Bishop The first metropolitan of Kiev who was appointed 

of Kiev, by the Russians themselves without consultation with 
the Patriarch of Constantinople was Clement, a monk 
of Smolensk. When he was elected (in 1197) " Bishop 
Onuphrius proposed that as a substitute for patriarchal 
consecration they should in ordaining him lay on his 
head the hand of St. Clement of Rome, whose relics 
had been brought from Kherson by Vladimir." ^ 

Until the latter part of the twelfth century the 

^ Mouravieff, p. 25. containing 11,000 monks and 18,000 

2 The Empire of the Tsars and the nuns. See p. 198. 

Russians^ Eng. ed., vol. iii. p. 192. ^ It is not certain whether this 

According to M. Leroy-Beaulieu proposal was adopted or not. See 

there were in 1896 in the Russian Mouravieff, pp. 35, 367. 
Empire 650 convents or monasteries 


RU88IA 509 

Russian nation was more or less confined to the basins 
of the rivers Dnieper and Volga. Outside these districts 
Christianity made comparatively Httle progress and 
at the time of the Mongol invasion large tracts of 
southern Russia were still unevangeKzed. At this 
time many of the monks who escaped being massacred 
by the Tartars directed their steps towards the north, 
and during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries 
a large number of missionary monasteries were founded Monas- 
in the northern districts, more particularly amongst theTar"" 
the Finnish tribes which bordered on Russia. ^^^^• 

By the beginning of the thirteenth century when the 
Tartar Mongols, who were to dominate Russia for 
two centuries, first began their invasions, the greater 
part of Russia had become nominally Christian. The The 
great battle which was fought at Kalka in 1224 checked SlfS 
their invasion for the moment, but twelve years later f^^^^^^' 
they returned and overran the greater part of the 
country, razing the chief towns, including Kiev, and 
destroying the Christian churches. How ruthlessly Massacres 
the Mongols massacred the inhabitants of the countries M^ongois. 
which they conquered may be gathered from the 
statement of Howorth in his history of the Mongols 
that between the years 1211 and 1223, " 18,470,000 
beings perished in China and Tangut alone at the hands 
of Jengis and his followers." To quote the words of 
another writer : " In Asia and Eastern Europe scarcely 
a dog might bark without Mongol leave, from the 
borders of Poland and the coast of CiHcia to the Amur 
and the Yellow Sea." 1 

Again Kluchevsky writes : " For a long period 

^ The Book of Marco Polo, by Colonel Yule. 


after 1240 the provinces of ancient Rus, once so thickly 
Descrip- peopled, remained in a state of desolation. A Roman 

tion by /^ ii T • . 

Piano Car- Cathohc Hussionarj named Piano Carpini, who traversed 
P'""'* Kievan Rus in 1246, on his way from Poland to the 
Volga to preach the Gospel to the Tartars, has recorded 
in his memoirs that although the road between 
Vladimir in Volhynia and Kiev was beset with perils, 
owing to the frequency with which the Lithuanians 
raided that region, he met with no obstacle at the 
hands of Russians, for the very good reason that 
few of them were left alive in the country after the 
raids and massacres of the Tartars. Throughout the 
whole of his journey across the ancient provinces of 
Kiev and Periaslavl he saw countless bones and skulls 
lying by the wayside, or scattered over the neighbour- 
ing fields, while in Kiev itself — once a populous and 
spacious city — ^he counted only 200 houses, each of 
which sheltered but a few sorry inmates." ^ Many 
Russians died as martyrs rather than renounce their 
Christian profession; but as time passed rehgious 
persecution ceased, and the Christian churches were 
Usbek gradually rebuilt.^ Usbek Khan,^ who became the 
head of the Tartars in 1313, and who lived at Kara- 
korum in Central Asia, became a Mohammedan and 
many of the Tartars followed his example. 
Monks as During the two centuries which followed the time 
aries to of Vladimir monks played a foremost part in spreading 
^^^^* a knowledge of Christianity amongst the peoples of 

^ History of Russia, p. 195. by Stanley, p. 324. 

2 On the top of every Russian ^ -pov an account of the Christian 

church in every town which was embassies sent to the Great Khan 

under the Tartar yoke the Cross is by the Pope in 1245 and by Louis 

planted on a Crescent. Cf. Lectures IX of France in 1253, see Neander, 

on History of the Eastern Churches, Ch. Hist vii. 65-75. 


Russia and specially amongst the Finnish tribes which 
inhabited the greater part of Northern Russia. Settling 
amongst these nomad peoples, sometimes only two or 
three at a time, they lived at first in huts or cabins, 
and, having won the confidence of those with whom 
they came in contact, and whilst endeavouring to 
impart Christian teaching, they taught them also how 
to clear the forest, to cultivate the ground, to build 
houses and to fish. In course of time the huts inhabited 
by the missionaries developed into monasteries and 
the settlements became towns. It was to the labours 
of the missionary monks that the incorporation of 
these Finnish tribes as an integral part of the Russian 
state was chiefly due. 

These monasteries received a large access of numbers 
in the thirteenth century, when the incursions of the 
Mongols and the wholesale destruction of churches 
and monasteries in the south caused many to seek 
refuge in the north. 

In 1315 was born a man whose life and work havesergius, 
left a lasting impression upon the development of^^^^'^^' 
religion in Russia. Sergius, who was born at Rostoft, 
left his home when still a young man and lived, first 
of all with his brother and afterwards alone, amongst 
the wild beasts in the thick forest about forty-three 
miles north-east of Moscow. His holy life soon 
attracted to him disciples, and with their aid he built 
a little wooden church dedicated to the Holy Trinity 
(Troitskaia). The monastery which arose on the same 
site became the largest and most influential in 
Russia and from it went forth thousands of monks and 
ascetics to labour both in the central and southern 


parts of Russia and amongst the tribes of the north. 
Before his death in 1392 the name of Sergius was known 
and revered all over Russia, and princes and bishops 
sought from him advice and help.^ 
Northern Amongst the Kst of monasteries which deserve special 
toksf mention in view of the missionary work which they 
accomplished are the monastery of the Assumption 
on the shores of Lake Onega, founded for the prosecu- 
tion of missionary work amongst the Lopars (Lap- 
landers) : one on an island in the Kubensky Lake, 
the monks of which strove to evangelize the savage 
tribes of Tchudes (Finns) : the Solovetsky monastery 
on an island in the White Sea, the monks of which 
laboured amongst the inhabitants along the coast,^ 
and one on Lake Ladoga which was a centre of mis- 
sionary work amongst the Carelians.^ 
Stephen Another great missionary, who was a younger 
of Perm. (jQ^tcmporary of Sergius, was Stephen, by whose 
labours the Ziranes who inhabited the district of Great 
Perm in the south-east of Russia were won to the 
Christian faith. As a youth he entered a monastery 
at Rostoff and for thirteen years he occupied himself 

^ This monastery continues to be R. W. Blackmore in his translation 

the richest and most celebrated of all of Mouravieff's History, p. 377. 
the religious houses in Russia. It ^ In the Travels of Macarius, 

is said to have possessed at one time written in the middle of the fifteenth 

106,000 male peasants or serfs with century, an account is given of a 

the land to which they were attached. cannibal tribe of dog-faced people 

It withstood the attacks of a Polish who lived 150 versts north of Arch- 

army of 30,000 men for sixteen angel, 1700 of whom are said to have 

months. It is surrounded by a wall paid a visit to Moscow (vol. i. pp. 

1500 yards in length and flanked by 417-21). 

eight towers. All the moveable ^ In 1227 Yaroslav sent mission- 
treasures of Moscow were placed aries to Carelia, with the result that 
here for security during the invasion the majority of the inhabitants were 
of the French in 1812. Note by baptized. See below, p. 523. 


with the study of the Greek language and Hterature. 
He then went alone to live and preach in the woods of 
Perm, and having been ordained priest in 1378 he 
built a church on the river Viunaa which served as a 
centre of his missionary work. The language of the 
Ziranes which he had known from his boyhood was 
reduced by him to writing after he had himself com- 
posed an alphabet for the purpose. He then trans- 
lated parts of the Bible and of the liturgy into the 
Zirane language and the services in his church were 
conducted by him in the language of the people. After 
his consecration as a bishop in 1383 he established 
many churches and schools throughout the province of 
Perm and ordained some of the students who had 
been educated in his schools as priests. He died at 
Moscow in 1401. 

Livonia, the country inhabited by the Lieflanders, Livonia. 
who were a Slavonic race, stretched along the eastern 
coasts of the Baltic as far as the Gulf of Finland. The 
earlier attempts which had been made by Danish kings 
to compel the inhabitants of these districts to accept 
Christianity had done little more than embitter them 
against all who bore the name of Christians, but in 
1158 traders from Bremen began to form friendly 
relations with the Lieflanders and to estabUsh trading 
settlements amongst them, and were thus the means 
of preparing the way for the advent of Christian mis- 
sionaries. In, or about, 1184 an aged monk named The monk 
Meinhard, who had been trained in one of ViceUn's ^84^'"''^' 
monasteries at Segeberg in Holstein, moved by the 
reports of this almost unknown people which he had 
received from traders, resolved to go as a missionary 

2 K 


to their country. He accordingly sailed with some 
traders to the River Duna, where he preached for two 
or three years, and in 1186, having obtained the consent 
of the Russian prince Vladimir of Plozk, he built a 
church at Ukskull, a little beyond Riga, where the 
traders had already estabhshed a settlement. Here 
he won the confidence of the inhabitants by helping 
them to repel an attack made by pagan tribes in 
Lithuania and by instructing them in the art of build- 
ing fortifications. Induced very largely by the material 
benefits which they had received, many of the people 
accepted baptism, and in 1186 Meinhard went to 
Bremen, where he was consecrated by Archbishop 
Hartwig as a bishop. One of those who had helped 
Bishop him to start the work in Livonia was Theodoric a 
Cistercian monk who had begun to cultivate some 
land at Thoreida not far from UkskuU. His success 
in agriculture, however, aroused the hostility of the 
heathen and they began to debate the question of 
offering him up as a sacrifice to their gods.^ Before 
deciding upon their action they brought out their 
sacred horse, and the omens which they obtained from 
the thrice-repeated stepping of the horse over rows of 
spears having proved favourable, Theodoric was 
left unmolested. Later on his hfe was imperilled in 
consequence of an eclipse of the sun which occurred 
in 1191. On this occasion he was accused of having 
devoured the sun, but its reappearance, or some 
other fortunate occurrence, saved his Ufe for the time 
being. Owing however to his increasing unpopularity 

1 Cf. Chronicon. Livonice, i. 10, ipsius sit in agris, eorumque segetes 
"quern Livones diis suis immolare inundatione pluvise perirent." 
proponunt, eo quod fertilior seges 



he was forced to abandon his work. On his return 
to UkskuU Meinhard found that some who had been 
baptized had relapsed into heathenism and that the 
task of real conversion had hardly yet begun. The 
hostility of the people proved so great that at length 
he appealed to Pope Celestine for assistance, but the 
Pope could do nothing more than send him letters of 

Before his death in 1196 he obtained the consent of Bishop 
the people to receive another bishop, and after his frge^^^^' 
death Berthold, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery 
at Lockhum, was consecrated as his successor. On his 
arrival at UkskuU Berthold distributed presents amongst 
both Christians and pagans and supplied them with 
food and drink, but as soon as his supply of gifts 
was exhausted he was forced to flee the country. 

Returning at the head of an armed force, which he His resort 
had collected with the help of the Pope, he sum- *^ *'^''^- 
moned the Liefianders to submit and to permit 
missionary work to be carried on in their midst. They 
refused his demand, but invited him to preach to them 
by words instead of by deeds, whereupon a battle 
ensued in which the bishop was killed (July 24, 1198), His death 
although his army was victorious. The Liefianders '"^ ^^**^^* 
now sued for peace and, as a pledge of their goodwill, 
150 of them agreed to receive baptism, but as soon 
as the army was withdrawn a reaction occurred and, 
whilst the missionaries saved their lives by flight, 
two hundred of the Christians were put to death by 
the heathen Liefianders. The next bishop, Albert von Bishop 
Apeldern of Bremen, who was appointed in 1198, ^p^^"*^"^ 
sailed up the R. Duna early in 1200 with twenty- 





three ships and accompanied by a considerable army.^ 
He reduced the Lieflanders to subjection and in 1201 
gcites the f Q^j^^g^j ^^^ l-Q^j^ ^f j^igg^ ^^ ^hich place the bishopric 
landers. ^£ UkskuU was transferred. His efforts however to 
evangelize the people met with scant success, and he 
retained a considerable armed force partly in order 
to overawe the Lieflanders and partly in order to 
resist the incursions of pagan tribes. In order to 
provide for the maintenance of such a force he obtained 
the consent of the Emperor Otto IV and the approval 
of the Pope to the estabUshment of the knightly 
"Order of the Sword " ^ in 1202. The order was 
placed under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin 
Mary and its members were pledged to hear mass 
frequently, to abstain from marriage, to lead a chaste 
and sober hfe, and to fight against the heathen. In 
return for their services they were authorized to hold 
and enjoy whatever lands they succeeded in wresting 
from their heathen inhabitants. For over twenty 
years this Order waged ruthless war against the in- 
habitants of Livonia. In each case in which they 
granted terms of peace to a section of its people one 
of the terms was that the inhabitants of the district 

' ' Order 
of the 

1 With a view to the raising of 
this force Pope Innocent III ad- 
dressed a letter to all Christians 
in Saxony and Westphaha urging 
them to join this army. In it he 
wrote, " We take under our protec- 
tion and that of Saint Peter all who, 
inflamed with divine zeal, shall con- 
duct an expedition for the defence 
of the Livonian Church and of the 
Christians in those parts and we 
impart to them the benefits of the 

apostolic patronage." The letter is 
dated Oct. 5, 1199. See Migne, P. L. 
ccxvii. col. 54. In this and in two 
other letters the Pope commands 
those who had vowed to make 
pilgrimages to Rome to substitute 
for them a crusade against the 

2 The original name of the Order 
was Ordo fratrum militiae Christi. 
The first members of the Order were 
apparently Cistercians. 


should be baptized.^ From Riga Bishop Albert 
carried his arms into Esthonia and the neighbouring 
territories of Semgallen and Courland, and founded the 
sees of Revel, Dorpat and Pernau, which became 
ecclesiastical fortresses in the midst of a hostile popu- 
lation. So rapidly did the Christianization of the Baptisms 
country proceed that in Esthonia one priest is said to tL^ia. 
have baptized from 300 to 500 persons a day for some 

An interesting experiment by way of missionary BibUcai 
propaganda was the institution of dramatic plays re- ^fg^/'' 
presenting scenes from the Bible. Thus in Riga in 
1204 plays were exhibited illustrating the exploits 
of Gideon, David and Herod, the meaning of which 
was explained to the spectators by interpreters. The 
play, which represented Gideon's soldiers making a 
surprise attack upon their foes, not having been suflfi- 
ciently explained to the spectators, they fled in terror 
from the spot, fearing that they themselves were about 
to be attacked. The priest Heinrich (der Lette) who 
acts as historian was an eye-witness of the play. 

A monk named Sigfrid who was in charge of the Work of 
Christian Church at Holm, and who died in 1202,^'^'''^' 
appealed to the Lieflanders by more peaceful methods 
than those adopted by his bishop, and his earnest- 
ness and piety made a considerable impression upon 
the people, many of whom he baptized. 

In the winter of 1205 Archbishop Andreas of Lund, Archbp. 
who had come with the Danish contingent of Bishop ^b^^, 

^ In one case the terms of the tion and keep the rites observed by 

treaty of peace provided that "all other Christians." Origines Livonice, 

men, women and children receive i. 135. 
without delay baptismal regenera- 


Albert's army, gave a course of instruction on the 
Psalms to the clergy at Riga.^ In the course of a 
fight between Christian Letti and the heathen of 
Esthland a Lettian priest mounted a redoubt and sang 
a hymn of praise to God, accompanying his hymn 
with a musical instrument. The heathen, captivated 
by the song, ceased fighting and asked what was the 
occasion for such a manifestation of joy, whereupon 
the missionary replied, " We rejoice and praise 
God, because but a short time ago we received baptism 
and now we see that God defends us." ^ 
Martyr- In 1213 Frcdcric of Celle, the missionary priest in 
Frederic charge of Fricdlaud, was put to death with torture 
^ ^ ^ by pagans and died thanking God who had counted 
him worthy to suffer martyrdom.^ 

In 1224, by which time the opposition of the Lief- 
landers had been finally broken down. Pope Honorius 
III, on the request of the bishop of Riga, sent William 
bishop of Modena as a legate to Livonia. He urged 
the Germans to treat those whom they had conquered 
with kindness and not to lay upon their shoulders an 
'' intolerable yoke " lest they should abandon the 
Christian faith and lapse again into idolatry. 
The The need of clergy to maintain the work of the 

LivJnia!'^ Church in Livonia was in part suppUed by Pope 
Innocent III, who (in 1213) directed every monastery 
in Saxony to send one or two of its members to act 
as missionaries. A similar order was issued by Pope 
Honorius III in 1220. Money was also collected 
for this purpose by papal authority. Bishop Albert 

^ See Livonim Chronicon, 43, " et ^ Liv. Ghron. 57. 

legendo in Psalterio totam hiemem in ^ Liv. Ghron. 26. 

divina contemplatione deducuntur." 


died on January 17, 1229, and by the time of his 
death the great majority of the inhabitants of Livonia 
had become Christians. 

Esthonia (in German, Esthland), which now con- introduc- 
stitutes one of the Baltic provinces of Russia,^ re-chrisfi- 
ceived its first impressions of Christianity from Canute E^t^ifonk^ 
IV (Knud Valdemarson) king of Denmark (d. 1086), 
who attacked it with a fleet of 760 ships and, 
after forcibly baptizing a number of its inhabitants, 
erected Christian churches in their midst. His ships, 
however, had hardly disappeared when the churches 
were destroyed and all traces of Christianity were ob- 
literated. In 1219 Valdemar II, after obtaining the a crusade 
papal benediction, undertook another crusade against the Es- 
the Esthonians. The Danish soldiers vowed that inigig'^'"'' 
the event of their proving victorious every Dane above 
twelve years of age woidd henceforth keep a fast on 
St. Laurence's eve. After gaining an initial success 
he was hard pressed by the Esthonians and was in 
danger of suffering a complete defeat. The Danish 
archbishop, Anders Suneson, thereupon ascended a hill, 
and, imitating the action of Moses in the fight against 
the Amalekites, he held up his hands in prayer, and 
assisted to encourage the Danish forces to renewed 
efforts, which proved at length completely victorious. 
Christianity was then forcibly reintroduced and was christi- 
gradually accepted throughout the province. Esthonia ^preld by 
was sold by the Danes to the Knights of the Sword in *'''"^^- 
1347, and after becoming incorporated with Sweden in 
1521 was ceded to Peter the Great in 1721. 

^ It is bounded on the north by which it is separated by the R. 
the Gulf of Finland, on the east by Narowa, on the south by Livonia and 
the Government of Petrograd, from on the west by the Baltic. 


The Lithuania was inhabited in the tenth century by 

anians. the Lithuanians, who were subdivided into Litva, 
Borussians and Letts, and occupied the south- 
eastern coast of the Baltic from the Vistula to the 
Duna. Later on the Borussians, whose name is per- 
petuated in the country of Prussia, were conquered 
by Germans. The Letts were driven northwards 
and fell under the dominion of the Livonians. 
In the thirteenth century the Lithuanians, to- 
gether with the Samoghitians, constituted an in- 
Baptism dependent people. In 1250 their ruler Mendowg 
dowg, (Mindove), having been attacked by the Livonian 
Order, agreed to be baptized and was crowned by 
Innocent IV as king of the Lithuanians. Vitus, a 
Dominican friar, was at the same time sent as a mis- 
sionary to the Lithuanians, but his efforts met with 
Heathen little succcss. In 1260 the king relapsed into heathen- 
1260. ' ism, and a general uprising of the Lithuanians against 
the Livonian Order resulted in the re-establishment 
of their independence. Mendowg himself was killed 
in 1263. Gedymin, who was the ruler of Lithuania 
from 1316 to 1341, and who greatly extended his 
dominions, long remained a heathen, but his seven sons 
were baptized into the Greek Church and before his 
death he himself was baptized. In 1325 the Lithu- 
anians concluded a treaty with Poland against the 
Livonian Order, which proved the first step towards 
the union of Lithuania and Poland that took place in 
1569. In 1345 the principality of Lithuania, with 
Vilna as its capital, was re-established under Olgerd, 
who had married a Christian wife and had himself 
been baptized. But although he called himself a 


Christian he continued to offer sacrifices to the national 
gods and to adore the sacred flame which was kept 
burning in one of the temples at Vilna. When he died 
his body was burned with pagan ceremonies. His 
son Yagello (Vladislav) who succeeded him married Yageiio. 
in 1386 the PoUsh queen Yadviga, who was a Christian, 
and at the same time agreed to introduce Christianity 
into Lithuania. By virtue of his marriage with 
Yadviga he became king of Poland as well as king of 
Lithuania. Having been baptized at Cracow in the 
Latin Church by the name of Vladislav, he proceeded 
to Vilna, where the diet passed a resolution formally christi- 
accepting Christianity as the national reUgion. Pohsh accepted 
clergy under the superintendence of the archbishop *^*>^ , 

p ^ ^ A national 

of trnesen were subsequently introduced as missionaries, religion. 
together with a Franciscan friar named Vasillo, who 
became the first bishop of Vilna. The Lithuanians 
up to this time had worshipped the stars and the 
god of thunder, and had venerated serpents and 

Adam of Bremen attributes to them also the custom 
of offering human sacrifices. Thus he writes, 
"They venerate serpents and birds, to whom theypagan 
even offer living men bought from the merchants, -^'^X- 
after they have been carefully examined to see that ^^^^ 
they have no spot on their bodies." ^ i^ the fourteenth 
century their chief priest Krive-Kriveyto (judge of 
judges) superintended seventeen classes of priests 

1 Pope Pius II (^neas Sylvius) cui cibum dedit ac sacrificium fecit 

writing about 1460 says, " primi in feno jacenti.'* De Statu Europce. 

quos adiit ex Lituanis serpente cap. xxvi. 

colebant, paterfamilias suum quisque 2 Adam Brem., de situ Danice, 
in angulo domus serpentem habuit, 


and elders who worshipped in the forests, and long 
after the introduction of Christianity veneration was 
paid to oak trees both by the Lithuanians and the 
Letts. These also maintained a perpetual fire, the 
priests in charge of which were specially consulted by 
the friends of those who were sick.^ On the intro- 
duction of Christianity by the Polish missionaries the 
sacred fire was extinguished, the groves were cut down 
Yageiio and the serpents and lizards were killed. Yagello gave 

assists the . , ■ ii • • • i i • ij» j. 

Christian cvcry assistaucc to the missionaries and nimseli trans- 

^ies!^"" lated into the language of his people the Lord's 

Prayer, the Creed and other Christian formularies. 

Moved by the example and exhortations of their ruler, 

many of the people were either conducted to the banks 

of rivers and baptized by immersion, or were sprinkled 

with the water of baptism, large numbers at a time, 

many receiving at the same time the same Christian 


The Earl In 1390, four ycars after the nominal conversion of 

hi uLI- the people of Lithuania, the Earl of Derby, who after- 

1390. wards became Henry IV of England, took part in a 

crusade organized by the Knights of Prussia, the 

object of which was stated to be the conversion of 

Lithuania. He fought under the walls of Vilna against 

the Lithuanians and Poles, and is alleged to have killed 

in single combat Czartoryski a brother of Yagello.^ 

Mission- In 1413 a Lithuanian priest named Withold went 

hours of as a missionary to the Samaites or Samoieds in the 

TOthoid, ^^j,y f^^ north. Missionaries from Prussia had already 

visited them but without producing visible results. 

1 Adam Brem., de situ Daniae. Religious History of the Slavonic 

2 See Krasinski, Lectures on the Nations, p. 307 n. 

EU8SIA 523 

Withold met with a considerable amount of success 
and became the first bishop of Miedniki (Wornie). 
In 1420 the last sacred grove was cut down and the 
national worship of idols was finally abolished. 

^Finland up to the beginning of the twelfth introduc- 
century was practically untouched by the preaching christl 
of Christian missionaries. Early in this century ^^*y^^^*^ 
Vassievolodovich sent Russian missionaries to the 
Carelians who lived on Lake Ladoga in East Finland, 
and in 1157 Erik, king of Sweden undertook a crusade 
against Finland and established himself on the south- 
western coast. Henrik, bishop of Upsala, who accom- 
panied Erik, preached the gospel to the Finns and 
suffered a martjr's death in 1158. His successor 
Rodulfus also died as a martyr about 1178. An in- 
dependent Church of Finland was estabUshed under 
Bishop Thomas (d. 1248). 

Missionary work was carried on with a considerable st. Juri in 
amount of success by St. Juri (Gurius), the first bishop ^^^^''' 
of Kazan (1555-64), which lies about half-way between 
Moscow and the Ural mountains.^ One of his fellow- 
workers, Varsonophius, had been a captive with the 
Tartars in the Crimea, and having learnt their language 
and their customs was able to appeal to the Tartars of The Tar- 
Kazan. As the result of their labours and of those of kZ^L 
Bishop Germanus (d. 1569) Christian communities 
were estabhshed in the towns, but the inhabitants of 
the villages remained as heathen or Mohammedans 
until the nineteenth century, and many are still 

1 Kazan was conquered and incorporated with Russia in 1552 by Ivan 
the Terrible. 


During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
great pressure was brought to bear upon the heathen 
Tartars by the Russian government and lOO^OOO of 
them were practically forced to accept baptism, but 
although churches were built and clergy were stationed 
amongst them, they and their descendants remained 
as baptized heathen. The Mohammedan Tartars, 
however, continued to constitute the majority of the 
population. About the middle of the nineteenth 
century public attention was drawn to Kazan by the 
news that tens of thousands of the descendants of 
those who had been forcibly baptized were abandoning 
the profession of Christianity and were embracing 
Islam. At this time there was living in Kazan a man 
iiminsky. named Nicholai Ivanovitch Ilminsky, who in 1846 
became lecturer in Tartar and Arabic in the ecclesi- 
astical academy of Kazan which had been founded 
in 1842. In 1847 he undertook the task of translating 
the Bible and the service-books into a language which 
the Tartars could understand,^ and in order to prepare 
His work himself for the work of a translator he went and lived 
th^^T^r- amongst the Tartars in the villages, sharing their life 
*^^^' and endeavouring to understand their language and 
their thoughts. In one village full of baptized Tartars, 
in answer to his inquiry addressed to a chance 
companion, '' Who is living here ? " he received 
the answer, " Tartars, only they are baptized." 
" What kind are they ? " he asked. " Are they 
Orthodox ? " '' No," was the reply, " simply Tartars 
who have no reUgion at all." TraveUing from village 

^ Early in the nineteenth century the language employed failed to be 
the British and Foreign Bible Society understood by the Tartars, 
had issued the Bible in Tartar, but 

EU8SIA 525 

to village he gained the hearts of the Tartars '' by his 
mildness, cheerful affability and quickness of per- 
ception," and came back to report that " to have any 
chance of influencing the baptized Tartars to become 
Christians in reality and not only in name, one must 
offer them in their vernacular language the Holy 
Scripture, the service and the preaching." ^ In 1851 
he started for the East with the intention of studying 
Arabic and Arabic literature in order that he might 
better understand and appeal to the Tartar Moslems, 
and with this object in view he lived for more than 
two years in Egypt and Palestine, returning in 1854 
to Kazan. He spent several years in endeavouring to 
produce translations into what might be called literary 
Tartar, but became at length convinced that the only 
language in which translations would appeal to the 
inhabitants of the villages was the colloquial which 
they themselves spoke. In 1858 a misunderstanding 
arose with the new archbishop of Kazan, who failed 
to appreciate Ilminsky's work, and the latter, having 
been accused of showing too much sympathy for the 
Moslems, was forced to leave Kazan. After spending 
three years in studying the language of the Kirghises, 
many of whom were still idolaters, he returned to 
Kazan in 1862 as professor of Arabic and of Tartar in 
the Kazan University, and remained there till his 
death in 1891. At Kazan he succeeded in establishing a mis- 
a central missionary school, the Tartar scholars trained schooUt 
in which went out throughout the province of Kazan ^^^*^* 
and established a series of schools that did much for 

^ See article by Alexey Yakovlev, Moscow University. The East and 
professor of Russian History in The West, vol. xi. pp. 260 ff. 



[chap. XIX. 


tion Com- 

the evangelization of the districts in which they were 
situated. One of his chief helpers was a man named 
Vassili Timofeiev, whom Ilminsky found employed 
as a water-carrier, but who, under his influence and 
teaching, eventually became '' a veritable apostle 
among the baptized Tartars." Professor Yakovlev 
writes : 

" In the summer of 1864 Timofeiev went to the 
villages of the baptized Tartars and preached to them 
the Gospel and read to them the newly prepared trans- 
lations of the Old Testament, and behold ! people 
who ten years before avoided all religious conversations 
and turned aside with the utmost mistrust at every 
attempt to approach them, now gathered in crowds 
to listen to the reading in their vernacular language. 
. . . Timofeiev banded them in choirs to sing Christian 
hymns, and this improvised singing made a wonderful 
impression on them. The movement took on like 
fire in drought." ^ 

The Kazan Translation Committee, of which Ilminsky 
was for long the leading member, has published trans- 
lations in at least twenty languages which are spoken 
either in European Russia or in Siberia .^ Large 
numbers of clergy who have been trained at Kazan 
are now working as missionaries far beyond the limits 

See The East and The West, 

1 The East and The West, vol. xi. 
p. 267. 

^ '* The Holy Scriptures and other 
books have been translated by 
Ilminsky and his followers into 
Tartar (about 70 works printed) ; 
Tshuvash (about 260 works) ; Tshere- 
miss (about 80 works) ; lesser figures 
for Kirghis, Bashkir, Mordva, Votiak, 
Kalmuk and some ten other lan- 


vol. xi. p. 268 n. Since 1885 the 
Holy Synod has authorized the use 
of languages other than the old 
Slavic in the Church Services. The 
Great Liturgy is now celebrated in 
the following languages, Tartar, 
Tshuvash, Tsheremiss, Mordva, 
Votiak, Buriat, Yakut, Tunguz and 
Samoyed. See L. BeauUeu, iii. 518. 


of this province.^ The principle which underUes the 
'' Ilminsky system " is to appeal to the people whom The 
it is desired to evangelize by books written in their system. ^ 
own dialects, and the adoption of this principle for 
which he did so much to gain acceptance has rendered 
the work done by Ilminsky of lasting importance. 
He died (1891) mourned by many thousands in two 
continents, and to-day " in many a humble priest's 
or schoolmaster's house one may find a lithograph 
representing the beautiful features of the grand old 
man, an emblem of his soul and name, being a bond 
between millions of his followers, as his heart and mind 
were a connecting link of the cause during his life." ^ 

Moslems are to be found to-day in almost every Moslems 
part of the Russian Empire. In European Russia *^ 
they constitute a majority of the population of seven 
provinces, viz. Ufa, Kars, Tersk, Elisavetpol, Uralsk, 
Daghestan and Baku. The chief centres of Moslem 
life in Russia are Kazan, Orenburg, Ufa and Troizk. 
" Here most of them use the Russian language, and 
they are among the most civilized Moslems not only 

^ By 1895 the ex-scholars of this " A few years ago, except about 40 

school included 65 Tartar priests and Russians, there was not a Christian 

150 teachers in charge of schools, of in the village, but a rich merchant in 

which 60 were in the government of Kazan had built a church and schools, 

Kazan. and when I was there, there were 

2 Id. p. 269. For a description of 92 pupils in the school and 350 adult 

the missionary work which is now Tartars had made their Easter Com- 

being carried on in Kazan see a munion. ... I never saw, even in 

pamphlet entitled The Russian and Russia, a more devout congregation, 

English Churches, by W. J. Birk- and it is quite difficult to reaUze that 

beck, pp. 27 ff. Mr Birk beck, in 30 years ago there was not a Christian 

company with Father Vassili Timo- in the village " (Address to a Meeting 

feiev, visited a number of Tartar of the Eastern Church Association, 

villages in the province of Kazan. 1895). 
Referring to one of these he writes : 


of Russia but of the world." ^ Prior to the war the 
Russian Empire contained 20,000,000 Moslems, of 
whom 3,500,000 are found in European Russia. 
They form nearly twelve per cent, of the entire popula- 
tion of the Russian Empire, and were represented in 
Mission- the Duma.^ During the last decade about 50,000 
amongst members of the Orthodox Church have reverted to 
Moslems, jgi^^^ 3 There is an Orthodox Missionary Society 
for the promotion of work amongst Moslems with its 
headquarters in Moscow, the annual expenditure of 
which is about £32,000. It supports missions to 
Moslems at Orenburg in European Russia, also at 
Altai, Omsk and Tobolsk. 

In comparing the story of the introduction of 
Christianity into Russia with that of its introduction 
into other European countries it is pleasing to note 
The treat- that, although a measure of compulsion was used by 
imbe^ Vladimir to compel his people to be baptized and after- 
her^tTcs^in wards to rcccivc Christian instruction, no one was put 
Russia. j-Q death for refusing to abandon paganism, and that, 
since Russia as a whole became nominally a Christian 
country, there has been an entire absence of the 
more violent forms of persecution directed against 
heretics and unbelievers. The tortures of the In- 
quisition and the cruelties practised on those accused 
of sorcery, which disgraced a large portion of the rest 
of Christendom, have been unknown in Russia. It is 
true that Karamsin, the Russian historian, refers to 
the burning of four sorcerers at Novgorod in 1227, 

^ Mohammed or Christ, by S. M. the only exception is in the Caucasus, 

Zwemer, p. 77. where there are a considerable number 

^ The great majority of Russian of Shiahs. Td. 
Moslems belong to the Sunnite sect ; ^ Id. p. 83. 


but he describes this as a lamentable error of super- 
stition and says that it was done without the know- 
ledge or approval of bishop or clergy.^ 

The non-Christian population of European and The mis- 
Asiatic Russia exceeds thirty million. We hope and outlook. 
beUeve that the Orthodox Church, freed at last by 
the recent Revolution from its long subservience 
to political influences, will become a great missionary 
Church and will help to interpret and to commend 
the Christian faith to the Slavs, the Moslems and the 
Mongols who are included within the Kmits of Russia. 

^ Karamsin, iii. p. 298. 


the islands in the mediterranean 


Paul and Paul aiid Bamabas, who was himself a native of Cyprus, 
at^Sak-^^ preached the Gospel at Salamis,^ and Barnabas and 
^^^' Mark returned to the island later on as missionaries.^ 
Christian Jews from Cyprus, moreover, had been 
amongst the number of those who first preached the 
Gospel at Antioch.^ The Byzantine Synaxaria men- 
tions many saints, bishops and martyrs, amongst 
whom are included St. Lazarus, St. Heraclides 
and St. Nicanor, one of the first seven deacons.* 
During one of the great persecutions Christians 
from the mainland were banished to the mines of 
Cypriot Cyprus. Cypriot bishops from Salamis, Paphos and 
Nicseaf Trimithus were present at Nicaea. The fact that 
one of them, Spiridion, who was a shepherd, re- 
mained as a shepherd after his consecration as bishop 
of Trimithus^ suggests that Christianity had by this 
time made way amongst the country people outside 
the town. A little later mention is made of a bishop 
of Ledrae.^ Sozomen speaks of Cypriot bishops in 

1 Acts xiii. Socrates, i. 12 and Sozomen, H. E. 

2 Acts XV. 29. i. 11. 5ta drvcpLav ttoWtjv ix6fJL€vos ttjs 
^ Acts xi. 20. iTno-KOTrijs i-TroifxaLve Kai ra wpd^ara, 

■* Acts vi. ^ Triphyllius. See Sozomen, H. E. 

^ He was married and had children. i. 1 1 ; Jerome, de Vir. III. xcii. 


the villages, and twelve bishops from Cyprus signed the and at 
decrees of the Council of Sardica in 343.i St, Epi- ^^''^^'^• 
phanius, the author of many theological works, who St. Epi- 
died in 403, was bishop of Salamis. The ecclesi- p^^""'"'* 
astical independence of the Church in Cyprus was 
acknowledged at the Council of Ephesus in 431.2 


St. Paul, accompanied by Titus, preached in Crete, Titus in 
and the latter was left behind by him in charge of the ^''^*^* 
Christian community .^ Dionysius bishop of Corinth 
wrote a letter {circ. 170) " to the Church of Gortyna 
and to the other Churches of Crete," and another letter 
to the Church of Cnossus, the bishop of which, Pinytus, Bishop 
he exhorted not to enforce too strict a rule of asceticism Cnd^sus.''^ 
upon the brethren in Crete. The letter which Pinytus 
wrote in reply urged that the time had come to give 
'' stronger meat " to his people.* 

Rhodes, Melos, etc. 

An attempt has been made to prove, by evidence Rhodes. 
derived from inscriptions, that there were Christian 
Churches on some of the other islands, especially on 
Rhodes and Thera, before the end of the first century, Thera. 
but the evidence that is available is unconvincing.^ 

^ Athanasius, Apol. c. Arian, 50. Church in Cyprus, see HisUyry of the 

2 The claim of the Cypriot Church Church of Cyprus, by J. Hackett, 

to autonomy, was based upon the 1902. 

alleged discovery of the coffin of ^ Titus i. 5. 

St. Barnabas and an autograph of ^ Eusebius, H. E. iv. 23. 

St. Matthew's Gospel. For an ac- ^ See Harnack, Exp, of C, ii. 230. 

count of the later development of the 


Meios. The Christian catacombs that have been found in Melos 
seem to prove the existence there of a Christian com- 
munity as early as the third century. The writer of 
Patmos. the Apocalypse was for a time a resident in Patmos.^ 
Cos, Lem- Bishops from Rhodes, Cos, Lemnos and Corcyra were 
c;^';,^iL's- present at the Council of Nicaea. Mytilene in Lesbos 
^^^- had a bishop in the time of JuUan.^ The tradition 
that St. Paul appointed Crispus as the first bishop of 
.Egina. JEgina ^ suggests that there was a Christian community 
there at a very early date. 


Christian Of the Christian catacombs in which Sicily abounds 
combs. a few may possibly be as old as the second century, 
but the first definite proof of the existence of a Christian 
community in Sicily is afforded by the statement made 
by Cyprian of Carthage ^ that letters were sent during 
the Decian persecution by clergy in Rome to Christians 
A Church in Sicily. Pantaenus, the teacher of Clement of Alex- 
7ufr^' andria, was a Sicilian. A Christian Church existed at 
Syracuse at least as early as 250.^ A bishop of Syra- 
cuse was present at Aries in 314,^ and there were 
apparently bishops at Catania, Messina, Taormina and 
Girgenti before 325, and possibly at Lilybaeum and 
Panormus.' Milman writes, '' In Sicily, which long 
remained obstinately wedded to the ancient faith, 

1 Apoc. i. 9. catacombs. 

2 Socrates, H. E. ii. 40. ^ See Letter of Constantine sum- 

3 See Const Ap. vii. 46. moning Chrestus, bishop of Syracuse, 

4 ^p XXX. 5. to attend a council. Euseb. H, E. 
^ See Cyprian, Ep. xxx. 5, also x. 5. 

evidence afforded by existence of ' See Harnack, Exp. of C. ii. 256 f . 


eight celebrated temples were dedicated to the Mother 
of God." 1 


If, as is almost certain, Malta is to be identified St. Paul 
with Melita, St. Paul spent three months in this island "^ 
during his journey to Rome.^ Chrysostom refers to 
the tradition that its inhabitants were converted as 
a result of his sojom-n there.^ Christian monograms 
and inscriptions have been found, some of which may 
be as old as the second century, and some of the tombs 
and subterranean cemeteries of a very early date near 
Citta Vecchia are said to be arranged like the Roman 
catacombs. According to a late tradition Publius, Pubiius. 
mentioned in the Acts, became the first bishop, and 
after acting as bishop for 31 years was transferred 
in 90 A.D. to Athens, where he was martyred in 125. 
The island was captured by the Saracens in 870, and 
their dominion lasted for 220 years, when it was again 
conquered by the Norman knights. 


It is not improbable that the first missionaries to 
Sardinia were Christians who had been condemned to 
labour in its mines.* Towards the end of the 
second century those who were sent there from Rome 
to work in the mines included Callistus, who after- CaiUstus. 

1 Ilist of C. iii. 182 : Cronologia ^ Homily liv. on Acts. 

Univ. ddla Sicilia, p. 601 ; see above, ^ See Hippolytus, given under 

p. 216 n. Origenis Philoso'phoumena, ix. 12, in 

2 Acts xxviii. Migne, xvi. col. 3382. 


wards became pope. The Liberian Catalogue states 
Pontian that Poiitian, who was bishop of Rome in 235, was 
poiytus. banished together with a presbyter named Hippolytus 
to Sardinia, and impHes that he was sent to work in 
the mines.^ It is possible that there may have been 
Christians at a still earlier period.^ Four thousand 
Jews were exiled to Sardinia by Tiberius, and it is con- 
ceivable that some of these were Christians and that by 
their means a knowledge of the Christian faith was 
Lucifer, first introduced into the island. Lucifer, bishop of 
cfgHari. Cagliari (d. 371), defended the cause of Athanasius at 
the Council of Milan. There is an early Christian 
cemetery at Caghari. Eusebius, who became bishop 
of Vercelli in 340, came from Sardinia. 

That paganism long survived in Sardinia ^ is suggested 

Sym- by the statement that Symmachus, a Sardinian who 

became pope in 498, came from a community that was 

then pagan and was not baptized till he arrived in 


Corsica, Elba 

Corsica. There is no early tradition relating to the introduc- 
tion of Christianity into Corsica. According to the 
BoUandists it was entirely Christian in 439, but Pope 
Gregory (590-604) speaks of many heathen as still to 
be found in the island. On the fall of the Western 
Empire (476) it was captured by the Vandals. It was 

^ Catal. Liber. Pontian. ^ Sardinia was specially noted for 

2 See reference to Letters of its worship of Hercules. 

Dionysius of Corinth given in ^ Cf. " veniens ex paganitate," 

Eusebius, H. E. iv. 23. Apologia adversus Anastasium. 


recovered by Belisarius, but captured by the Goths 
under Totila. 

Rutilus Namatianus, writing about 416, speaks of Elba, 
the worship of Osiris as prevaiUng in Elha^ but of the 
circumstances attending the introduction of Christianity 
into the island we know nothing. 



Treat- A COURT chaplain, asked by his sovereign to furnish 
thJjews him in the fewest possible words with a proof that the 
Christian Bible was a true message from God, repKed, " The 
Church. Jews." The dispersion of the Jews throughout the 
whole world seemed to him to be a convincing proof 
that the Scriptures, in which their dispersal was fore- 
told, were divinely inspired. The answer given by the 
chaplain is, however, the answer which we must give 
to a very different question, viz.. What people has 
been treated by the Christian Church during a period 
embracing the greater part of its history with a cruelty 
that has created an insuperable obstacle in the way of 
their conversion, and which goes far to prove that it 
has completely misunderstood, if it has not actually 
repudiated, its Master's teaching ? For if the dispersal 
of the Jews amongst all the nations of the world can be 
regarded as a fulfilment of the solemn warnings of Christ, 
their treatment by those who professed to be His 
followers is an ineffaceable blot on the page of Christian 
history, and affords to the Jews something more than 
a plausible excuse for looking askance at the teaching 
which the descendants of their persecutors would fain 
commend to them to-day. 

It may be noted as an explanation, albeit not in 


mitigation, of the persistent hostility shown by the The Jews 
Christians toward